Police body cam legislation not only new NC law

Posted September 30, 2016

Twenty-four state laws take effect Saturday, covering everything from police video to online privacy to beach bingo.

The most talked about piece of legislation is the law that defines any video from a police body camera or dashboard cam video as not a public record. It can be viewed only by people shown in the video or their representatives, and it can be released public only by court order if a judge decides it doesn't violate a series of tests.

Supporters call it an improvement because, until now, there hasn't been any state law governing police video. Officials could simply label it a personnel record and refuse to release it.

But opponents say it makes it too difficult for the public to access video in controversial cases, such as the Sept. 20 shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte. In that case, police said Scott refused to drop a gun, while his family insisted he was never holding a gun. The pieces of video the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have released are inconclusive.

Some lawmakers who supported the bill now say it may need to be revised.

Another new law protects students' online data. It forbids third-party websites, schools and other parties from selling or renting the data to others.

A "Blue Alert" has been created – along the lines of Amber Alerts for missing children and Silver Alerts for people with cognitive problems – to help capture anyone suspected of injuring or killing a law enforcement officer.

Beach bingo parlors will be required, under another new law, to register with the state, undergo inspection and be licensed, and local governments will be allowed for the first time to give service animals, such as police dogs and horses, to the officers who've worked with them when the animal is ready to retire. That last new law was named the Raleigh Apodaca Act for retiring state Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, and his late bulldog, Raleigh.

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  • William James Oct 3, 2016
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    The citizens of NC demand transparency and spent millions to equip officers with body cams to validate the actions of honest cops and expose those who are not, yet NC state government deems the NC taxpayer unqualified or ill equipped to view such material. The only reason the state would pass such a law is to afford the complete power on what the public sees. On top of that notice how the officer in the pic has the cam placed conveniently in the middle of his chest vs. shoulder to allow him to block the view if his pistol is drawn or like the last officer simply not turn it on or cut it off during the confrontation. Most important note, real time video would validate the actions of good cops, so the only reason to restrict such access is the expectation that it would also expose and fire bad cops, which ironically is the whole purpose of getting the body cams.