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North Carolina body cam law hides Andrew Brown video from the public

The family of Andrew Brown, the Black man killed in his car by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies, has viewed more footage from bodycams and dashcams, and they believe it shows that the shooting was unjustified. The family of Andrew Brown, the Black man killed in his car by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies, has viewed more footage from bodycams and dashcams, and they believe it shows that the shooting was unjustified.

I know emotions are running high, and that Mr. Brown’s family wants justice. I know that in their view, virtually nothing would be justified. But I also know that North Carolina’s system is set up to protect police officers at all costs, to put their interests before the interests of the public, and to hide police video from taxpayers until the police can investigate themselves.

Here’s how it works. Under North Carolina law, police body cam footage is not considered public record. Think about that. The video is recorded on cameras paid for by the public, worn by police officers who work for the public, stored in equipment that’s funded by the public, yet in North Carolina it is not considered public record. Therefore, the public has no right to see it unless a judge gives an order making it available.

In Brown’s case, a judge made the footage available to the family, but ordered the sheriff to blur the deputies’ faces to protect the people involved. Which is interesting, since nobody’s talking about protecting the people who are shot by police; people like Andrew Brown, who was killed by deputies serving a drug warrant at his home. His family and their attorneys say Brown, who was unarmed, had his hands on his steering wheel when he was shot multiple times by deputies, including a fatal shot to the back of the head.

The sheriff, who claims he wanted to release the video to the public, says his deputies did nothing wrong. The family says that’s not true. Maybe if we saw the video, we could judge that for ourselves, but in North Carolina, it’s apparently better to hide the truth, than to show it.

Photo: March for justice By. Anthony Crider

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