Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Am I allowed to videotape an interaction with police? Can they make me stop filming?”
North Carolina now joins the ranks of other states attempting to block the release of potentially inflammatory body camera footage. Earlier this month the governor, Pat McCrory, signed a bill into law that prevents law enforcement recordings, either from body cameras or dashboard cameras, from being released, except with very narrow exceptions. Though some officers have cheered the news, many other groups, including the ACLU and the state’s attorney general have offered criticism, saying the new law makes it harder to hold law enforcement accountable in the event of the use of excessive force.
Charlotte DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”
The advent of police vehicle and body cameras in recent years has been aimed at greater transparency and accountability amongst law enforcement. Sometimes, as in the case of former NFL receiver Jabar Gaffney recently, these arrest videos can provide teachable material from which other citizens can learn.
J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC responds to “The person that called the police doesn’t want to press charges, can I still be prosecuted?”
The political world has been aflutter with outrage at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a personal email account while employed as the Secretary of the United States Government’s Department of State.
In a press conference last week, Clinton said she decided which emails were a part of the public record and which emails were private. The latter, she suggested, had been deleted.
Now an American state—Massachusetts—is giving police officers the same power, only not over email. According to the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Secretary of State has refused the newspaper’s request for “the names of five police officers caught drunken driving,” for a “report on an officer who was arrested,” for “booking photos of a state trooper,” and for an “entire log of people incarcerated in the state prison system.”
It seems—both at the state and federal levels—secrecy is all the rage.
In Massachusetts, that state’s supervisor of public records told the Globe that public departments have “the discretion to withhold records determined to be covered by CORI.” CORI stands for “Criminal Offender Record Information. The Massachusetts Secretary of State contends that law-enforcement officials have sweeping powers to decide what criminal records are made public, according to the Globe.
J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”
The move is on—in the wake of riots and protests over police shooting and choking deaths of two unarmed men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City—to equip police officers nationwide with body cameras. Privacy advocates, police chiefs and at least one police union, however, are expressing concerns about the plan.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Obama Administration has proposed spending $75 million on 50,000 body cameras to be fitted upon law-enforcement officers across the United States.
This, Monroe said, would increase the trust the community has in police and, at the same time, would provide the State with crucial evidence regarding the circumstances of crimes and the conduct of responding officers.
The Post, citing NBC News, which in turn cited St. Louis hip-hop artist and activist Antoine White, said police body cameras might not be all they are cracked up to be. White, who met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday to discuss the recent events in Ferguson, told NBC News that “Giving a policeman a camera does not prevent him from shooting me in the head.”
J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need to hire an attorney if I have been falsely accused?”
The shooting death of teen Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer—and the subsequent protesting, rioting and looting—has many Charlotteans asking “Could that happen here?”
NAACP Charlotte President Kojo Nantambu said during a Thursday press conference that Charlotte, like Ferguson, is a hotbed of racial hostility. “NAACP” stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Police are supposed to be protecting us,” Nantambu said, “but they are killing us instead.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. echoed Nantambu’s sentiments in a USA Today editorial, writing that anywhere Americans look, “There’s a Ferguson near you.”
Like the Brown case, the killing in Charlotte last year of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell made headlines around the world. Ferrell was shot to death by CMPD Officer Randall Kerrick after a car crash. Both Brown and Ferrell were unarmed at the time of their shooting deaths. In the Ferrell case—unlike in the Brown case—Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police quickly named Kerrick as the officer who fired the shots that killed Ferrell. After an investigation, Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter.