Filming police officers in North Carolina could be illegal

Published: Aug. 27, 2010 at 1:46 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:46 PM EDT
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Wilmington, NC - WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Could filming police officers on the job in a public place be illegal in the state? Attorney General Roy Cooper is staying quiet on the subject, while New Hanover County's Sheriff says citizen journalism is important.

A report in the Carolina Journal states that while it's legal to record, as long as one person in the conversation knows, it is illegal to eavesdrop.

There are twelve states in which all parties must consent before a conversation can be recorded.

New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon believes members of the public have every right to film.

"I don't know why we would want a law that would be violating our constitutional rights," the Sheriff said. "It's our job to protect and serve the citizens, so we should not be afraid of that [filming]. We should welcome that."

McMahon spoke on this topic earlier this summer when a man filmed with his cell phone the tazing of a college student by a deputy on Wrightsville Beach. Even then, McMahon said he was happy someone caught it on video. The tazing video would not be deemed illegal since deputies knew the man was filming it.

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