North Carolina bill would require release of law enforcement body camera video

Current law does not deem footage public record
Posted at 2:51 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 19:14:58-04

NORTH CAROLINA - A bill introduced in the North Carolina State Senate would require all law enforcement body camera video be made public after 48 hours.

The new law was proposed nearly three weeks before the death of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City. Brown was shot to death by a deputy from the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office while the deputy was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Brown.

The video of that incident has not been made public, because North Carolina law does not deem body camera footage to be public record.

"I believe it's essential, not only for the families involved in these instances, but also the general public," said State Sen. Don Davis (D) of Greenville.

"When people are watching these videos, they're able to assess for themselves what they think. Obviously, we may not be the jurors where we have every single detail at our disposal, but at the same time, we should be able to understand and see what's taking place, especially with public resources and those operating in an official public capacity," he said.

In an interview Friday, Davis told News 3 anchor Blaine Stewart he hears the calls of family members and demonstrators in Elizabeth City.

"I understand," Davis added. "What a community goes through, we all go through. We're all in this together."

In a statement issued Thursday, the Pasquotank County Sheriff told reporters his office was working with members of Brown's family to set up a private viewing of the body camera video from this week's incident.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein also issued the following statement about Brown's death:

"Whenever anyone loses their life it is heartbreaking. My heart goes out to everyone who is struggling with the loss of Andrew Brown, especially his family and friends.

“I am very concerned about what happened in Elizabeth City. The SBI is presently conducting an independent investigation. We need to allow time for that investigation to be conducted thoroughly so that the appropriate legal conclusions can be reached. I will continue to monitor this situation closely.”
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein