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State Senate unanimously passes changes to state’s body camera law

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The state Senate unanimously passed a criminal justice reform bill, including one provision negotiated by bill sponsor, Senator Danny Earl Britt that would drastically change the law governing police body cameras.

Senate Bill 300 includes a provision that would allow a family to view unedited body camera footage within five business days after a serious police offense, like an officer-involved shooting.

It comes three weeks after Andrew Brown, Jr. was shot and killed by Pasquotank County deputies as they tried to serve a search warrant on his Elizabeth City home.

Just yesterday, the Brown family and one attorney viewed less than 20 minutes of video from six different police cameras. Authorities said the total amount of video lasted about two hours, but the judge ordered it redacted to show them parts that just showed Brown in the video.

Since the Brown shooting, there have been increased calls to change a 2016 law that keeps body camera videos out of public view unless a judge orders their release.

The bipartisan bill is a step in the right direction, according to Britt and Davis.

Senate Bill 300 has other provisions as well, like creating a public database of law enforcement officer certification, suspensions and revocations.

Increase penalties for those who resist or obstruct an arrest and while doing so, injure a law enforcement officer, and the bill increases the penalty for rioting.

If passed by the House and signed into law, the new law would still allow a law enforcement agency to get a judge to have the video edited, for example, if it captured a confidential informant on camera.

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