Monday, March 7, 2016

Police Body Cameras, How Can We Trust Greensboro?

A few days ago Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan announced she wanted the State of North Carolina to pass new laws that would allow Greensboro Police to release Police Body Camera Video to the public.

While this sounds great the Grasshopper has a history of saying one thing and doing another. For example, when Mayor Vaughan and City Council voted 9-0 to pass disclosure rules for City Council members I went before Council and asked that they take it one step farther and lobby state legislators to make this policy state law. Why? Because by law City Council cannot punish the Mayor or other council members for breaking council rules. Only the State of North Carolina can do that.

Since that time almost every member of City Council has been caught failing to disclose items required my Mayor Vaughan's rules.

In the case of Greensboro Police body cameras we already have the January 2015 instance in which Bulent Bediz was charged with assault on a police officer. Greensboro Police and Greensboro Code Enforcement both claimed to possess video of the incident but both failed to produce any such video for the court.

The News & Fishwrap reported:

“The officer told the judge ... he tried to remove Bediz from the vehicle to prevent him from driving away in a vehicle he knew was expired,” Neumann said. “The judge apparently felt the officer didn’t have the right to remove him.”

The case was heard by Guilford County District Court Judge Jan Samet.

“Judge Jan Samet did the right thing under the state and federal constitutions,” Bediz’s attorney Seth Cohen said."

No mention of the police body camera. Now how about this comment I left on Councilman Justin Outling's Facebook page promoting the Grasshopper's plan.

That's right, The officer in the photograph of the News & Fishwrap article promoting Mayor Vaughan's plan is the same GPD officer who falsely accused Bulent Bediz of assault on a police officer in Jan 2015, the GPD police body camera poster boy.

I'm all for making police body camera videos part of the public record, I believe most GPD rank and file police officers are in favor of the same because most of them are honest cops doing a very hard job. I just don't trust our current city leaders to manage them correctly.

And to be perfectly honest, my guess is the GPD police body camera poster boy was acting under orders as he had been sent there on behalf of Greensboro Code Enforcement who were illegally removing Mr Bediz's property.