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New body camera law irks public
Under H.B. 972, only law enforce
ment and other government agencies
can see footage
BY TEVIN STINSON
The N.C. General Assembly has passed a contentious
law, House Bill 972, that prohibits who can see police
body camera and dashboard footage.
Less than two weeks after Keith Scott was gunned
down by a police officer in Charlotte, HJB. 972, couldn't
have come at a worse time. Wake Forest University crim
inal studies director Kami Chavis said one of the biggest
challenges with the law is the lack of transparency.
"I think there is already a lack of transparency when it
comes to community policing, and this law adds to that
distrust." Chavis said.
Signed by incumbent Gov. Pat McCory in June, under
H.B. 972, videos obtained on police cameras will only be
made available to the public if a judge finds that it needs
to be public information.
Only law enforcement agencies and other government
agencies are allowed to see footage from body cameras
and dashboard cameras. People who are seen or heard in
the video footage can be shown the video, but they are not
allowed to share or record the video.
Law enforcement agencies can deny all requests to
view to footage for a number of reasons, including, to pro
tect personal information, and to protect a current or
closed, investigation. They can also withhold viewing if
they decide it may jeopardize the safety of an individual.
During a recent forum held on the Wake Forest cam
pus to discuss police brutality just days before the law
went into effect, Chavis, who also serves as WFU's asso
ciate dean of research and. public engagement, said she
understands not releasing footage immediately but, hold
ing footage INDEFINETLY adds another brick to the wall
of distrust between police and the black communities
across the country.
She said, "There are a lot of reasons why we might
want to maintain the integrity of an investigation, but it's
not appropriate to have the footage remain unreleased."
N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
has called for a repeal of H.B. 972. The NAACP also
demanded that federal standards be set for when police
officers should be justified in using deadly force. Barber
also called for "more civilian review boards, and a demil
itarization of police departments statewide.
Barber demanded, "the end of radicalized policing and
U.S. Rep. GJC. Butterfield, chairman of the
Congressional Black Caucus and the N.C. representative
for District 1, and U.S. Rep. Alman Adams, who repre
sents District 12, have also spoken out against the new
Just as quietly as summer turned to fall, on Saturday,
Oct. 1, H.B. 972 official went into effect. During an inter
view with WFAE 90.7 in Fayetteville, State Rep. Allen
McNeil from Asheboro said the law puts recorded footage
exactly where it should be.
"This law does not put the custodian of the record
[such as the police chief] in [he unfortunate position of
have to decide what is evidence and what is not evidence,
what should be released and what should not be," McNeil
"It puts it where it should be. It puts it with the court."
H.B. 972 can be read in its entirety on the NC General
Assembly website at wwwncleg.net.
Latest debate adds to dismay in W-S
CHRONICLE STAFF REPORT
The nation viewed yet
another debate between the
top two presidential con
tenders on Sunday, Oct. 9.
In the spin room, several
commentators said after
ward that the United States
lost in the debate between
Republican Donald Trump
and Democrat Hillary
Clinton because not much
policy substance was dis
The debate came days
after a 1995 videotape of
Trump speaking lewdly
about women surfaced.
American officials and a
political expert in the
Winston-Salem area give
Dr. James Pope, assis
tant professor of liberal
studies at Winston-Salem
State University, said, "At
this point, the sensational
ism and clear outrageous
ness of Donald Trump and
the fact that you have a
highly disliked candidate
in Hillary Clinton, it's kind
of masking what is really
happening in society.
Everybody eyes are being
diverted to this circus, but
we have to understand in
the political landscape we
have to keep our eyes on
local and state elections as
well. -We can't get caught
up in the hate rhetoric.
"The dominant narra
tive that is coming out of
this two-party system is
that the people are getting
tired of the same old
things. The people are tired
of the social, political, and
cultural climate that is in
the United States from both
sides. This election is a
showing the gaps in society
live on TV. As a result we
must pay more attention to
those gaps and less to the
rhetoric that we are hearing
from these candidates."
Witherspoon said: "I felt
presidential politics went
to an all-time low. Donald
Trump should be ashamed
of himself. When you're a
presidential candidate, you
have to have more in your
bag of tricks than putting
people down and spreading
hate, spreading division.
I'll take the secretary of
state [Hillary Clinton] over
the secretary of hate any
Marshall said: "I think
Donald Trump is crazy.
The man is sick. My part of
it is just, it's kind of hard to
believe that we're that
divided, that a guy like this
has a chance of being con
sidered for president of the
United States. I think it
doesn't speak too well for
Council Member James
Taylor said: "There is a
clear distinction between
the two candidates. Hillary
Clinton has clearly out
lined her plan for America.
Donald Trump hasn't done
a good job and some of his
comments have been
Some people may think
there isn't a huge contrast
between the two candidates
but there is a huge contrast
between the two."
When asked about the
debate, Taylor said, "I don't
think they told me anything
I wasn't aware of. I felt
Hillary Clinton did a good
job of laying out her plan.
Donald Trump did a good
job of discussing what he is
looking for in a Supreme
Court candidate but the
message is clear. I don't
think anyone is confused
about who they're going to
vote for this election."
"I don't think the candi
dates gained or lost any fol
lowers from the debate.
Everybody knows who
they want to vote for and I
think the debate just rein
Staff writers Todd Luck
and Tevin Stinson con
tributed to this report.
November 11, 2016
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2016 Youth STEM Symposium
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