Professor Kami Chavis interview by 88.5 WFDD about N.C.’s new police body camera law

Photo of Professor Kami Chavis

Criminal Justice Program Director and Professor Kami Chavis, Associate Dean for Research and Public Engagement

Professor Kami Chavis, director of the law school’s Criminal Justice Program and associate dean for research and public engagement, discussed North Carolina’s new police body camera law, which went into effect on Oct. 1, 2016, with Keri Brown on 88.5 WFDD’s Politics and Government segment.  The print story, “North Carolina Body Camera Law Goes Into Effect,” follows.

Professor Chavis also gave her “expert” opinion on the topic in the WalletHub article, “Should Police Wear Body Cameras? Experts Pick Sides.”

North Carolina’s new body camera law went into effect on Saturday, October 1, 2016. It requires a court order for footage to be released, taking it out of public record.

Critics of the law say it makes policing less transparent.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed the controversial measure into law in July. It gives law enforcement more control over dashboard and body camera footage, and puts any request for that video in the hands of judges.

Some people, like those in the footage or their families, may have access, but only if they get approval by authorities.

Supporters says this evidence can be misleading, and it protects the privacy of those involved.

But Wake Forest University law professor Kami Chavis Simmons says lawmakers need to revisit the measure.

“We need in North Carolina to think about striking the proper balance between privacy rights and transparency,” says Chavis Simmons. “I think our law is very restrictive. There are other jurisdictions that do a much better job in terms of protecting the integrity of an investigation but also the public’s interest.”

This comes after news of unrest in Charlotte after the police shooting of Keith Scott. The release of body camera footage has been a rallying point for protesters.