Wilmington officers tell man not to record video of them

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There is no such law in North Carolina

The Wilmington Police Department has opened an investigation after officers were caught telling a driver that recording them on video is against North Carolina law. It isn't.

Both the Wilmington police chief and the sheriff in New Hanover County are confirming that people have the right to record videos of police officers.

Local media outlets report that Uber driver Jesse Bright, who's also an attorney, recorded video of police on his cellphone after he was stopped last month.

In the video, a Wilmington officer is heard:

Officer: "Hey bud, turn that off, OK?"
Bright: "No, I'll keep recording, thank you. It's my right."
Officer: "Don't record me. You got me?"
Bright: "Look, you're a police officer on duty. I can record you."
Officer: "Be careful because there is a new law. Turn it off or I'll take you to jail."
Bright: "For recording you? What is the law?"
Officer: "Step out of the car."
Bright: "What are you arresting me for? I'm sitting here in my car. I'm just recording in case anything happens. I'm surrounded by five police officers."
Officer: "You're being a jerk."
Bright: "I'm scared right now. I'm not being a jerk. I'm recording in case anything happens."
Officer: "You better hope we don't find something in your car."

Bright said after a deputy with a search dog was called, he also asked the deputy if recording was illegal and says the deputy also told him it was.

Sheriff Ed McMahon and Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous issued statements Wednesday that the officers involved were wrong when they told Bright he could not record them.

Bright was stopped after leaving with a passenger from a home. Bright says he and his passenger and vehicle were searched under protest and officers found nothing. No one was arrested.

Both McMahon and Evangelous say they welcome public video recording of their officers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Related Topics:
policenorth carolina newsWilmington
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