Police body cam legislation not only new NC law
Posted September 30, 2016 12:36 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2016 4:47 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.