Woody White Law PLLC
Phone 910-338-4900
Toll Free 866-677-8525

What did the General Assembly decide regarding police body cam footage?

Over the last few years, more and more police departments across the country have been outfitting their officers with body cameras in order to record their interactions with the public. Regardless of whether this policy was instituted voluntarily or by government mandate, it's generally believed that these cameras achieve a variety of laudable objectives from providing exculpatory evidence to deterring police misconduct.

Interestingly enough, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a measure just yesterday establishing a structure through which people can access footage recoded by either police dashboard cameras or body cameras, neither of which are currently required by law.

What does this new law do exactly?

House Bill 972, which passed the House by a 89-19 vote and the Senate by a 48-2 vote, establishes that footage recorded by either police dashboard cameras or body cameras is neither public record nor personnel record, but rather occupies a sort of protected middle ground in terms of availability to the public.

Under what circumstances is this footage available to the public then?

HB 972 dictates that while those people seen or heard in captured footage or their personal representative may be granted access to see and/or hear the recordings at a time and place chosen by law enforcement officials, no copies can be made absent a court order.

Furthermore, the law enforcement agency in question has the authority to deny a request to see and/or hear the footage for either safety or privacy reasons, or if doing so would compromise an active investigation. Those denied access would then have the option of appealing to the Superior Court.

Are most parties accepting of the legislation as written?

Several state lawmakers -- as well as legal advocacy groups like the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union -- have come out against HB 972, urging Governor Pat McCrory to veto it.

Here, the primary complaint is that the bill falls well short of promoting transparency, making it much too easy for law enforcement to deny access and otherwise forcing interested parties to spend unnecessary time and money in court.

Will Governor Pat McCrory sign the bill?

It remains unclear whether Gov. McCrory will sign HB 972 as his office has made no comment on the legislation.

Stay tuned for updates ...

If you are under investigation or have been charged with any sort of felony, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can protect your rights and your future as soon as possible.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Contact Our firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

  • Avvo Rating | Top Attorney
  • Business North Carolina's Legal Elite
  • AV | Martindale-hubble | preeminent | 2018
  • North Carolina Advocates For Justice
  • Board certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar
  • Super Lawyers | Woody White

Office Location

Woody White Law PLLC
2004 Eastwood Road, Suite 201
Wilmington, NC 28403

Toll Free: 866-677-8525
Phone: 910-338-4900
Wilmington Law Office Map

Woody White Law PLLC