If You Doubt Police Brutality Is Covered up, Check out What North Carolina Just Did

September 24th 2016

Thor Benson

Update: Charlotte police released dash cam and body cam videos on Saturday. Based on the videos, it is still unclear if Scott actually had a firearm during his altercation with the police. Charlotte police also released a photo of what they claim is a picture of the gun Scott was allegedly carrying. 

A law that was passed in North Carolina in July may prevent the public from viewing body cam footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s death. The law goes into effect on October 1, so police have to release the video before then for the public to see it, otherwise a judge will have to order the video be released.

Scott was shot to death when police claim he refused to put down a handgun, though family members say he was actually holding a book. Footage released on Friday doesn't confirm whether Scott had a gun or not. Local police have said video of the incident will be released, but this law could complicate that if it is not let out soon.

Protests have erupted all across Charlotte since Scott was killed, and protesters have demanded the public can review the footage of Scott's death. The event has gotten so much attention that even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for the video to be released.

The Daily Beast reports that new law requires a judge to consider eight standards for if a recording should be released, including if releasing it will "advance a compelling public interest" or if releasing it will "harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person."

“I think that we ought to be able to release some videos,” Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe of the Burlington, North Carolina, police department said in July. “This gives me no leeway to manage public perception, and that’s probably not a good thing. So I’m a little disappointed that that avenue isn’t there, except by court order.”

Rules surrounding who can view body camera footage have been an issue around the country, including in cities like Los Angeles, where footage may only be viewed if a criminal or civil investigation is brought up.