Police body camera vote looms before Durham City Council

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – In just a few days, Durham City Council members will convene at City Hall for a big vote on whether to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars outfitting every city police officer with a body camera.

But a showdown is looming between some of the council and top brass at the police department. It has to do with a draft policy that would keep police body-cam video secret by citing personnel laws or ongoing investigation claims.

“In my view the current draft of the policy falls short in that regard,” said Councilman Charlie Reece.

Speaking only to WNCN, Reece said he is prepared to vote “no” if the draft policy isn’t changed.

“In those situations where a video captures the use of force by a police officer here in Durham, we have to have access to that video so that the public can see that the law was followed, that the constitution was followed,” Reece said.

WNCN tried to nail down a position from Reece’s colleagues.

Only two council members responded.

Eddie Davis said he is undecided.

Jillian Johnson said she too is ready to vote no to cameras unless the policy allows the public access the videos.

Mayor Bill Bell did not respond to WNCN’s calls.

“The taxpayers deserve to know what they’re buying with that money, and deserve to have access to these very critical recording,” said Reece.

A new draft policy is expected to be released before Monday’s vote.

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