A new North Carolina law will make it harder for the public to acquire police dash cam and body camera footage.
North Carolina has been the scene of recent riots and protests as the public calls for accountability in the police shooting of Keith LaMont Scott. After initially fighting the release of body camera footage, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney reluctantly allowed the public to see the shooting with their own eyes. Beginning October 1, Chief Putney and other North Carolina law enforcement will now legally be able to deny the public access to body camera and dash cam footage.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill two months ago that would limit public access to police footage. The law has been supported by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association. Governor McCory argued that the bill would respect “the constitutional rights of the officer.”
Currently, dash camera footage from the police vehicle and body camera footage are public record and available via public record requests. However, beginning October 1 the law will state that the release of police footage will now depend solely on law enforcement. If requests for footage are denied by law enforcement an appeal could be made before a judge.
Obviously, this does not bode well for police accountability activists who typically seek to make such footage public following altercations or shootings. North Carolina police are likely to deny any footage that would incriminate an officer or upset the public.
The focus on police abuse, and an increase in citizen recordings of police encounters has created a situation where law enforcement are often resistant to releasing their videos. The growth of body cameras has also caused a patchwork of rules and regulations related to the release of body cam footage. CNN reports that at least 19 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws on public access to police body camera footage, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The North Carolina law is only the latest example of the law enforcement working to limit transparency and accountability. This is why it is important to remember that the fight against police violence and abuse should not simply be about requiring police to wear cameras. The goal should not be reformism but the complete eradication of systematic violence and the public acceptance of such violence. By creating and promoting alternatives to traditional policing we can create something much more powerful, and responsible to our communities.
We have to go further than body cameras and remove ourselves from the system of taxation that allows the police, who are themselves the enforcement arm of the State, to continue to function and thrive despite continuing to abuse and violate the people they are sworn to protect. We can remove ourselves from this Matrix and build a better world that is not based on theft and violence. We can create a world where the police as we know them today are no longer necessary.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2
Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact Derrick@activistpost.com
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So the very people who commit the crimes get to decide what evide4nse gets released?
Just goes to show who are the servants, and who are the “MASTERS”.
The very folks that finance the cops are not able to witness (view) the problem reaction-solution and dish out their brand of justice…wtf?
Might as well toss the cameras.
They need the cameras to use as evidence against you. Kinda like planting a gun or drugs on the scene when it is needed.
Since they generally turn the cameras off before they commit the crime [or wipe the footage] what is the point of your tax dollars paying for this? Guess we all need to step up our filming skills including long range lenses for all the roadblocks they now put up for everything under the sun [ie car seat checks, license checks, “safety checks”, DNA checks–all BS & unconstitutional]
Internal Affairs on Steroids…
I live in NC, this law was passed late in the night and signed by the governor first thing the next day. This is why I am voting for the other side, DINOS
OK, so here’s the solution to the problem of road pirates operating with carte blanch immunity for their bad actions. Just expose them as road pirates, show the world that they are nothing but government sanctioned criminal gangs ripping off the people, and that NO ONE has any kind of a lawful obligation to be abused, robbed by and murdered by them!!
As their revenue streams dry up, they will have to change their evil ways.