@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Police body-cam footage not public record under NC bill

Posted April 23, 2015
Updated April 24, 2015

Video from cameras worn by North Carolina law enforcement officers and cameras placed in their patrol vehicles would be considered investigative records that would require a court order to be publicly released under a bill the state House passed Thursday.

— Video from cameras worn by North Carolina law enforcement officers and cameras placed in their patrol vehicles would be considered investigative records that would require a court order to be publicly released under a bill the state House passed Thursday.

Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, said the state needs to study how to handle video footage of law enforcement activities more thoroughly but that House Bill 713 is an initial step at addressing the issue, which has exploded on the national scene in recent months in several officer-involved shootings.

"This is not just talking about a camera on a cop," said Faircloth, noting the cost of video systems, storing footage and the rights of the public and officers need to be weighed.

Under state law, law enforcement investigative records, such as lab test results and witness statements, aren't considered public records. The bill would add body-camera and dashboard-camera footage to that list.

A law enforcement agency could release video on its own, and because the footage could be considered a personnel record, Faircloth said the bill would allow the release without the consent of any officer shown in it.

Absent the approval of any agency, however, a court order would be needed to publicly release footage. Faircloth said the bill would require that people who obtain such an order to give as specific a day and time as possible for their request, so agencies don't have to comb through hours of footage.

Defense attorneys would have access to the video for criminal trials, he said.

"We need to move forward" on the issue, he said, "but we need to do it in a very measured and intelligent way."

16 Comments

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  • Jimmy Freeman May 4, 2015
    user avatar

    I find it hard to believe this actually went through the House. On second thought maybe not and should have been expected. Next the People will want the offices and meeting places of these so called representative of the People wired and have that be public records and they could not stand that. Their terms in office would be very short lived with all that transparency. It is my opinion that the People need to find out just which of our so called representative supported this bill, and work to see they are not reelected. I wish they would have had video and audio near five years ago that were accessible. We have several People in NC Public Service positions that are colluding, and conspiring to deprive an individual of their rights, as well as a witness favorable to that person who was falsely charged, arrested, and being drug through their just them system still today. Violations of the public records laws need far bigger teeth, as it stands they are a joke.

  • Uragoner Too Apr 25, 2015
    user avatar

    It seems that Rep. Faircloth and his fellow republicans have a problem with gov't transparency. This doesn't seem like "less" gov't at all. It should be alarming to all after what has taken place in the news lately. Pathetic.

  • Wayne Hendrix Apr 25, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    THER IS NO THING SUCH AS PRIVACY. the SCOTUS has ruled that you can film in public and NEED NO ONES PERMISSION. If they are in public they NO EXPECTANCY OF PRIVACY.

  • Wayne Hendrix Apr 25, 2015
    user avatar

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    IT IS NOT ILLEGAL to film the police, the SCOTUS has ruled that ANYTHING YOU CAN SEE FROM A PUBLIC PLACE YOU CAN VIDEO including cops and public officials doing their job. It is backed by the language of the constitution saying that CONGRESS SHALL PASS NO LAW INFRINGING ON OUR RIGHTS.

  • Wayne Hendrix Apr 25, 2015
    user avatar

    Thats fine it's time to swarm cops and film them even more. And they better include language in the bill to STOP THE POLICE from trying to get our video that we shoot. if there's is personal and it takes a court order to get theirs it should take the same for getting ours. BESIDES IT'S A PROTECTED 1A RIGHT.

  • Timothy Watson Apr 24, 2015
    user avatar

    This is all about protecting the police officers, nothing else. Next thing, it will be unlawful to video/film police stops like in other states. I hope and pray everyday that we vote all these people out of office in 2016. Has anyone noticed that most of the bills they have worked on lately, are social and moral issues that do nothing to help people get and keep good paying jobs. They came in 2-4 years ago talking about creating good paying jobs, most of their bills are just the opposite.

  • Negative-Zero Hollow Apr 24, 2015
    user avatar

    i almost was a victim of lying deceitful law enforcement employee, body cam footage should be public record no doubt about it, it's in the DA and cops favor if its not public, its bad when someone who is supposed to serve and protect makes false police reports, then gets on the stand and say's the exact opposite law enforcement in this state has turned for the worst, they think they can get away with anything these day's, i hope everyone records what happens when someone gets pulled over, some cops are already getting away with murder, it's bad when you can't even trust those who are supposed to help you, their should be mandatory psychiatric evaluations for those who wear the badge and carry gun's,, its not right they can legally gun someone down and walk away while average joe would rot in prison withe security guards with bad attitudes's,,their is good law enforcement like the sheriff's department, you don't have to worry about johnston county sheriff's, its selma and smithfield cop

  • Abrams Gunner Apr 24, 2015
    user avatar

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    Rob makes a good point. I believe police dash/body cams should be public record however, certain recordings should not be released (or until edited) to protect victim identities.

  • Jeff Johnson Apr 24, 2015
    user avatar

    Time for a new constitutional amendment, freedom of video. Rather than "release as needed", "withhold as needed" (with a court order of course). There may be cases in which someone undercover may need their identity protected or some other legitimate reason for withholding the video.
    HD video will record for 5 hours or more on an HD card. When set to loop, there is no reason for the camera to ever be off (as long as the video of an incident is retrieved before 5 hours has lapsed).

  • Keith LeBrun Apr 24, 2015
    user avatar

    Well.... so much for transparency.

    A person with nothing to hide hides nothing.

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