Local News

Organizations call for transparency with Raleigh body cameras

Posted April 5, 2016 10:40 p.m. EDT

— The discussion about police body cameras continued in Raleigh Tuesday night as two organizations made presentations to the Raleigh City Council about what they would like to see.

Body cameras will be phased in over a three year period in Raleigh and groups Tuesday night had very specific requests before the cameras hit the streets. Both presentations boiled down to transparency.

Sarah Preston of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said the organization views police body cameras as a win-win. They did however have policy suggestions concerning when the cameras will be used, how the public will access the footage, and how city policy will address privacy concerns.

“The policy must address the conditions under which the camera can be activated and deactivated,” said Preston. “Body cameras must include reasonable public access. This is a point of great concern for communities in Raleigh.”

The Police Accountability and Community Task Force also had a few recommendations of their own.

“This is why we’re here today; to ask for our community to be present at your table through an oversight board that gives accountability and transparency,” said Kimberly Muktarian.

City attorney Thomas McCormick said the City Council could certainly create a community advisory board but, in his opinion, one already exists.

“I think that we have a civilian board, actually, already and that’s the eight of you sitting at this table,” said McCormick, referring to City Council members.

Police Protective Association president Matt Cooper listened to concerns from both groups and said he tends to agree with McCormick when it comes to oversight and transparency. As for body cameras, he doesn’t believe it will be the solution everybody’s concerns about police transparency.

“Body cameras will help with some of those matters but they’re not a panacea. They’re not a cure all,” he said.