by Michael Lowrey
Sometimes public policy is way too predictable. A couple months ago I wrote:
But would requiring police officers to wear body cameras — or use any technology — be a panacea? No. If a police department refuses to be open with its internal investigations involving cases of alleged excessive use of force, then merely having body cameras won’t satisfy residents who already distrust the police. The same would apply to police departments that don’t explain publicly disciplinary actions against officers.
Last week the N.C. House passed a bill that declares police body camera videos not to be public records though they could be released for a “public safety purpose.” If this becomes law, then law enforcement agencies can play hide-the-ball if they so choose. And sadly many probably will, thinking that they have much to loose and little to gain by releasing videos except in the most exceptional of circumstances.