Following the release of the dashboard camera and body camera footage recorded during the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, North Carolina has passed a law that will lower the amount of police recordings released to the public.
When Scott was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer, protesters questioned the legitimacy of the narrative that Scott was armed. According to Scott’s family, he only held a book at the time of the shooting.
Public pressure and the release of a personal recording from Scott’s wife seemingly forced the CMPD to release the tapes from the back-up officer’s body cameras and the dash camera. However, a new law may make public release of police tapes harder to obtain.
Two months ago, NC Governor Pat McCrory signed new legislation that will block the public view of similar recordings. The law is set to take effect on October 1. McCrory believes this law will strengthen and unite the community and its officers.
“[The law is about] respecting the public, respecting the family and also respecting the constitutional rights of the officer," McCrory said.
The governor also believes that when tapes are released publicly, it does not tell the whole story and is subject to misinterpretation.
"One viewpoint of a video doesn't often always tell the whole story," McCrory said. "The angles can make a difference, and [you're] not hearing [the sound] often in the video, so that [adds to] the complexity. The video is one piece of evidence. We have to be careful."
The new law will make it so that dash cam and body cam footage are no longer treated as public record. Karen Anderson, executive director of the ACLU's North Carolina chapter, believes this new law will only harm the community.
"What we already know is that far too many people of color are victims of wrongful targeting and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers across the country," Anderson said in a statement. "We were once again harshly reminded that North Carolina is not immune to that reality."
(Photo: David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)