Police Videos Should Be Public Records

North Carolina just set a dangerous precedent that other states could follow. Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law that regulates the release of recordings from police body cameras and dash cams. Instead of being public record, the new law means that people -- even if they’ve been recorded themselves -- are only able to see the footage if law enforcement officials agree or you jump through many legal loops. The law will hurt transparency and make it harder to hold officials accountable when a citizen's rights are violated.

I live in North Carolina and want all communities to have a great relationship with law enforcement. We should all respect that protecting and serving the public can be dangerous and stressful. But we should also be able to trust that police will be held accountable when they abuse their power or show dangerous negligence. Reviewing footage from dash and body cams is a way to make sure that when things go wrong, the truth can be told and justice served for both the police and the public.  

We shouldn’t make getting access to the truth harder. Police videos have been critical in revealing the truth in countless shooting deaths, many who were unarmed minority males. What will happen when such an event happens again in North Carolina? With this law, it will put the police story front and center.

We must overturn this law. Other states are looking at what happens in North Carolina. If North Carolinians show they are willing to tolerate a law that makes it harder for justice to be served, they could pass similar laws. We can’t let that happen.

Footage from police cameras are often the only voice that can speak for a victim -- a voice North Carolina has just silenced. Please tell the North Carolina Legislature and Governor they overstepped and must repeal this law. Our citizens deserve better. 


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article88985782.html#storylink=cpy

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