In July 2016, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill exempting police audio and video from the public record. The move came after an increase in police shootings of Black men and calls for the release of police dashcam and body cam video to the public. Police unions across the country applauded the measure and many felt to protected an officer’s rights. Now in the wake of the police shooting of Keith Scott, Gov. McCrory has reversed himself on his political stance.
At first, the public was denied the right to see the video after the Scott family viewed the video and demanded its release. Now Gov. McCrory has released the following statement:
“As governor of North Carolina, I concur with the Charlotte police chief’s decision to release the tapes. I have been assured by the State Bureau of Investigation that the release will have no material impact on the independent investigation since most of the known witnesses have been interviewed. We have appreciated the ongoing dialogue and teamwork between state and city officials to seek public transparency while protecting the integrity of the investigation and the rights of all parties involved in this case.”
The move comes after multiple witnesses have come forward with conflicting versions of the shooting. This includes dramatic cellphone video of Scott’s wife pleading with police that he was unarmed and suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
The city of Charlotte has seen days of protests that sometimes turned violent, looting, injuries and the killing of one protester. Gov. McCrory activated the North Carolina National Guard and declared a state of emergency in the city. The city remains on edge as the investigation into Scott’s death continues.