Police Secrecy Assailed in NC Body Cam Footage Case

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Jose Charles was dazed, bleeding and surrounded by police after an incident that would leave him accused of fighting, resisting arrest and spitting a mouthful of blood into a police officer’s face. His mother had taken one of the 15-year-old’s siblings to the bathroom at a Fourth of July celebration in Greensboro, N.C., and returned to find an officer’s hand around Jose’s neck. On the ground, she saw “blood, lots of it,” the Washington Post reports. What happened depends on whom you ask. Police charged Jose with four crimes, including attacking an officer. The teenager and his mother say police slammed and choked him without provocation. An unbiased account — body camera footage from several officers who were at the scene of the encounter — is sitting on a server in the cloud, where almost no one can see it. A new North Carolina law makes it more difficult than ever to view recordings of controversial interactions between police and members of the public. The Charles case is the law’s major test since it took effect in October — and also the most controversial.

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