Group doesn’t want Greensboro City Council to pay to for new body cameras

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- At the Greensboro City Council meeting, council will decide on whether to fund Greensboro Police Department’s expansion of it’s body camera program.

However, a group doesn’t think the city should pay up.

Members of the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, along with others, plan to go in front of city to block the police department’s plans.

“Well informally we’ve asked several times. Formally we have asked three times,” said Rev. Nelson Johnson, of Beloved Community Center.

Greensboro police are asking city council for nearly $2 million to put body worn cameras on all police officers.

Right now the city has just over 300 cameras for more than 600 officers. If city council agrees to the purchase, each officer would have a camera which would end any sharing that happens now.

The group argues why should the city pay when body camera video is not accessible to the public.

“We are opposed to spending one dime on more body cameras unless it is available for the public to see. It doesn’t make any sense,” Johnson said.

Back in 2014, community activists including the Beloved Community Center called for camera footage to be shown to the public after video showed Officer Tim Bloch shoot and kill Chieu Vo in March of that year.

City council agreed to back in May, but now a state law blocks the release of those recording.

It’s a law those activists want repealed.

Johnson says opposing that request may accomplish two things: to get the city to oppose the recent statewide body camera law and to adopt a people’s ordinance that would provide public access to the video.

“We are going to pound and pound and pound. Because when it comes to justice, we cannot stop,” he said.