Greensboro police work with legislators to amend body camera bill

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro city leaders are working with legislators to amend a house bill that limits public access to body cameras.

A house bill proposed by Guilford County Representative John Faircloth would classify body cameras a criminal records, allowing only investigators and court officials to view the recordings.

Police Chief Wayne Scott said the bill is a “start” but disagrees with full disclosure of the video to the public.

“As a police chief, I think it’s important that there’s an opportunity, if you’re part of an encounter, that you have an opportunity to see that encounter, but equally I have to balance that with the right of privacy if a third person wants to see that encounter,” Scott said.

Scott said by allowing the persons involved, and their legal representation or guardians to view the video that still allows transparency with the department while protecting the rights of the citizens.

“I think the bill opens some doors for us, but I would like to see more definition in it as to exactly who and when the video can be released and what circumstances those can be viewed,” Scott said.

Scott said Faircloth has been in contact with the city’s attorney staff to offer their suggestions to the bill.

Representative Faircloth was not available for comment Monday.

ACLU of North Carolina Policy Director Sarah Preston released the following statement on the bill proposal.

“Body cameras can be a real win-win for police and the communities they serve, but only if the right policies are in place to guarantee transparency, accountability, and privacy. Unfortunately, this bill falls short because it would not allow members of the public who are recorded by police to access that footage if they have a complaint. Police should not be able to pick and choose when they can release videos.”

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