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Here's an instructive North Carolina-based tale about videotaping

From the recorded exchange that recently took place between a Wilmington police officer and a North Carolina resident he stopped for allegedly being involved in an illicit drug-related transaction, two things quickly emerged as patently clear.

The first is that the officer, and other law enforcers with him, were playing fast and loose with the truth when they informed the detained motorist that his filming was illegal and that he needed to stop recording immediately.

And the second was this: they never suspected that the driver was a North Carolina criminal defense attorney and knew that what they were telling him was untruthful.

"I'll keep recording, thank you," the tape intones at one point, with the attorney adding, "It's my right."

The officer's rejoinder: "Turn it off or I'll take you to jail."

Other words additionally ensued, with the officer at one point calling the motorist "a jerk."

The attorney was informed that he was stopped because he drove a man to a house being watched by police for suspected drug activity. His vehicle was subsequently searched.

Nothing was uncovered, and neither the attorney nor his passenger were arrested. Interestingly, the lawyer was working as an Uber driver at the time, applying the extra money earned toward his student loan debt.

It seems clear that the Wilmington Police Department was embarrassed by the matter, with its police chief refuting his officer's claim that filming is illegal.

In fact, he noted in a public statement, such recording is unquestionably lawful and even encouraged by his department as a way to "provide critical information during police and citizen interaction."

The motorist says that, while he doesn't want to see anyone punished in the matter, he notes that what happened to him "shows that the police are [sometimes] willing to lie in order to coerce people into doing what they want them to do."

Just to be clear: There is no North Carolina law that supports any type of blanket ban on citizens' recording of police actions.

Just ask the Wilmington Police Department.

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Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
101 North McDowell Street, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-376-9376
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