Skip Stam Says Body Camera Footage Could Be Used as an ISIS Weapon | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Skip Stam Says Body Camera Footage Could Be Used as an ISIS Weapon

Posted by on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 7:58 PM

Rep. Paul Stam
  • Rep. Paul Stam
In the aftermath of Akiel Denkins' death in February, advocates for greater police accountability have called for better public access to body camera footage as part of their efforts; police chiefs, such as Charlotte's Kerr Putney, have said that state law prevents them from doing that. This afternoon, the House Judiciary II committee passed a bill intended to clear up state law regarding body cameras, but civil liberties advocates say it's not the answer. 

HB 972, sponsored by John Faircloth (R-High Point) and Allen McNeill (R-Asheboro), a retired officer in the Randolph County Sheriff's Department, would give the police and only the person whose image or voice is on body camera footage and a representative (i.e. their lawyer or a guardian) the authority to see footage. They (or the press) wouldn't be able to obtain a copy of it without a court order. 

Democrats in the committee weren't so sure the bill would do much to fix the ambiguity. Rep. Joe Sam Queen said that any efforts to clarify body cameras should make it "relatively easy" for the public to access controversial footage. "It strikes me that the balance is strongly on the side of law enforcement," Queen said. "We're putting the burden on the public rather than the other way around."

Rep. Billy Richardson (D-Fayetteville) said the bill "could create a litigation nightmare."

"It’s important that there be some rules and regulations on how these videos are released," McNeill responded. "You don’t want to just open it up and say we should release everything.”

Rep. Skip Stam (R-Apex) also had a doozy of a theory on what could happen if the public gains access to body camera footage, when discussing a clause in an amendment offered by Rep. Robert Rieves (D-Sanford) that would make it mandatory to give access to body cameras to "just about anybody in the world who claims that they might have some civil suit," as Stam said.

"What’s the guy’s name in ISIS? [Abu Bakr] el-Baghdadi? He’s got a lot of money," Stam said. "It's sort of a secret that, rather than blowing up the World Trade Towers (sic), they could bring state and local government to a halt by using some of their billions to send public records requests out the wazoo to every town and county in North Carolina, and make all of these requests just because they say they want it. It would just completely bring the operation of state government to a halt."

(No wonder Stam wanted to seal teacher pay and Governor McCrory doesn't answer our public records requests.)

The committee eventually approved the bill, sending it to the House Finance Committee. If it passes that committee, it could see a full vote in the House. 

“This bill gives far too much discretion to law enforcement agencies to decide when and whether footage is released – even to individuals who are recorded and who request their own footage,” the ACLU's Susanna Birdsong said in a statement after the bill's passage. “If HB 972 becomes law, public trust in law enforcement across North Carolina will suffer, and the millions of dollars being spent to equip officers with body cameras could be squandered with little or no benefit to the public."

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

So I guess the only question open in this election is:
Who, if anyone, does Pierce Freelon endorse?
(As …

by JoeJoey on Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham (News)

Yes, I really hope this is put on YouTube or something. It would maximize voter reach, especially as there are …

by JohnnyDollar on Raleigh Mayoral Rivals Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis to Tape Debate That Will Air Friday and Sunday (News)

Most Recent Comments

So I guess the only question open in this election is:
Who, if anyone, does Pierce Freelon endorse?
(As …

by JoeJoey on Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham (News)

Yes, I really hope this is put on YouTube or something. It would maximize voter reach, especially as there are …

by JohnnyDollar on Raleigh Mayoral Rivals Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis to Tape Debate That Will Air Friday and Sunday (News)

We are lucky to have had such a primary field of bright, excellent, visionary candidates for Mayor of Durham, and …

by Sam M-B on Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham (News)

I am glad to hear this news. it is good to have debates.
I am a fan of both …

by 2Lionsrock on Raleigh Mayoral Rivals Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis to Tape Debate That Will Air Friday and Sunday (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation