Police Camera Footage Will No Longer Be Made Public In North Carolina

From huffington post:

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a bill into law on Monday that makes police dashboard camera and body camera footage exempt from the public record.

House Bill 972 does make such video accessible to people who can be seen or heard in it, along with their personal representatives ― but they must file a request to obtain the footage. If the request is denied, the petitioners must go before the state’s superior court. Requests can be denied to protect a person’s safety or reputation, or if the recording is part of an active investigation.  

Current state law establishes that dashcam footage is in the public record, and it doesn’t address body camera footage. But police departments usually consider body camera footage to be part of an officer’s personnel file and thus private. The new law will make body camera footage accessible under the same stringent new conditions that dashcam footage will be. 

“If you hold a piece of film for a long period of time, you completely lose the trust of individuals,” McCrory said.

He added, however, that officials have learned that “if you immediately release a video, sometimes it distorts the entire picture, which is extremely unfair to our law enforcement officials.”

Protests calling for justice in the police shootings of two black men and the massacre of five police officers last week may have further motivated McCrory to sign the bill.

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