April 17, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) condemns, in the absolute strongest terms possible, the arrest of Monica Ussery for exercising her Constitutional right to peaceful protest, as revealed by the police body camera footage that was released last week, as well as the despicable disregard for the law the police officers demonstrated.
Body camera footage has revealed several instances of abhorrent and egregious behavior by police officers, and is often the only way they stand any chance of facing accountability. We at the LPNC have called for justice for Joshua for over a year now. Homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer was harassed and assaulted by two Gastonia police officers, leading to his manufactured arrest which resulted in the death of his service dog. The city fought against the release of that body camera footage for almost nine months. When it was released, we saw that the truth was even worse than the most dire eyewitness accounts.
Or take the case of Jada Johnson. Johnson was allegedly shot 17 times in the back by the cops while other police officers were holding her down. She was completely unarmed at the time she was shot. Her two-year old daughter and her grandparents witnessed the whole thing. Of course, the body camera footage has been sealed and a gag order placed on anyone who sees it, because why would anyone want to see what actually happened (we assume is the state’s reasoning).
In contrast, the numerous actions by noble police officers each and every day merit exposure, to balance the scales of the conversation. Further, body camera videos serve to protect police officers who follow the law and protect the people, instead of putting themselves above the law, especially when there are unfounded accusations of impropriety.
We, the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, call on the state to change its body camera footage rules. The inability of the public to see how well public servants are living up to their charge is a fundamental necessity to a functioning democracy. The draconian control of information, leveraged to serve the interests of the state, imposed by our current body camera footage release laws, protects no one except for corrupt and errant cops, and fosters an environment of distrust between the police and the public they ostensibly serve.
We call on the legislature and Governor Cooper to act immediately to update the law so that all body camera footage is immediately available to the public, with necessary exceptions only to protect the identities of vulnerable victims of crime (excluding when the crime was perpetrated by the police).