Greensboro group wants city council to ask for repeal of body camera law

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GREENSBORO, NC -- On Tuesday, Greensboro City Council heard a lot from people angry about a new state law.

They say this law will keep the public from seeing body or dash camera videos when there are allegations of misuse of excessive force.

“What we are doing is calling on and if you will, calling out our city council,” said Lewis Pitts.

Pitts is a part of the Community-City Working Group of Greensboro and at the meeting the group presented a resolution. It asks Greensboro City Council to request the General Assembly repeal of the body camera law or HB 972.

“If they won’t support this resolution it tells us that they don't believe adequately in open government,” Pitts stated.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed it last Monday which blocks the release of body cam or dash cam recordings, with just a few exceptions. Critics call it too restrictive and it is more restrictive than the policy the City of Greensboro adopted back in May.

Guilford County State Rep. John Faircloth helped write the state law and says the state law doesn't restrict release, instead it gives judges the power to determine whether video should be released.

“So this to me is more of a local issue about what are local officials are willing to do,” said group member Bayard Love.

Tuesday afternoon FOX8 received a letter from the North Carolina Association of Police Chiefs who supports the law, which states:

“The North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police supported the enactment of house bill 972 regulating access to law enforcement video. It puts both law enforcement and all citizens on equal terms concerning release of video by placing that decision with judges in an expedited legal procedure. It also provides standards governing release and privacy protections for citizens. For the first time persons depicted on video have special status to view or obtain a copy of the video.

"This new law resulted from a long public process through a legislative study committee, standing committees in the house and senate, and full discussions on the floors of the house and senate. Creating the proper blend of transparency and privacy, and the process and criteria for making decisions on release, are complex issues. The new law is a balanced approach and provides a uniform regulatory framework for all law enforcement cameras in the state.”

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