Who decides to release body cam footage in NC, and when?

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Sometimes it takes weeks or even months for police bodycam footage to be released to the public. What seems to be a lack of transparency is just part of the process in North Carolina’s court system.

A judge, not the police, decide to allow body camera footage to go public.

After an incident that warrants body cam footage to go public, a court order must be filed.

A judge then must review the video and then determine if the police have to release it or not.

In 2016, House Bill 972 from the 2015-2016 session was put into law, stating recordings from law enforcement agencies are not public records.

According to the bill, it also states what portions of a video or copy can be disclosed.

House Bill 972 was passed by Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016, since it passed, Gov. Roy Cooper has been calling for change.

“The governor believes that instead of requiring a court order to release body camera video, that it should be presumed to be public record and released unless a Judge finds a compelling reason that it shouldn’t be.

“Body cameras are an important tool to help ensure accountability and public trust, and the Governor has called for changing this law since it passed in 2016,” said the office of Gov. Roy Cooper.

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