WIUM Tristates Public Radio

State Blocks Public from Seeing Police Body Camera Videos

Aug 2, 2016

The RTDNA reported Republican North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that prevents the public from seeing police body camera video without a court order. 

In the story, columnist Mike Cavender wrote that the governor said the new law protects the police because technology can “mislead and misinform.” The governor said the bill is fair to everyone—police and the public.

The Shop Talk panelists aren’t buying the governor’s explanation.

Jasmine Crighton called it “a misstep.” She said the purpose of such videos is provide greater transparency to the public.

Jonathan Ahl said he has great respect for law enforcement and that police do a difficult job.  But he said the North Carolina law will make it more difficult for good officers to publicly prove their innocence and for bad officers to be held accountable.

Rich Egger pointed to the dashboard camera video of the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago – video that clearly showed police wrongdoing and that the city of Chicago and its police department worked hard to suppress. 

Crighton said the bill signing reminded her of the Autumn Steele case.  The woman was shot by a police officer in Burlington, IA in January 2015.  Police and prosecutors released just a 12-second snippet of the officer’s body cam video and it doesn’t reveal much.  The woman’s family has called on authorities to release the full video.  Egger said authorities should at the very least show the full video to the family.