The City of Monroe is releasing police body camera video at 4:15 p.m. today, Thursday, September 16. The video will be released on the City’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzrGKOKR72fmCEn7D0f9mlg) and is related to three incidents that happened on Thursday, September 9 and Friday, September 10. The incidents happened at the Fairfield Inn (1825 Williams Road), the home of City Councilmember Angelia James (1600 Tower Court) and Atrium Health Union (600 Hospital Drive).
According to North Carolina law, police body camera video is not a public record and is not available in response to a public records request under Chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Body camera recordings can only be released by court order by a Superior Court Judge.
Monroe Police Captain Rhett Bolen responded to all three incidents and requested the video be released to himself, the Monroe City Council and the general public. Union County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jonathan Perry reviewed the request during a court hearing on Tuesday, September 14. The City of Monroe, at the judge’s request, was also present at the hearing. On Wednesday, September 15, Judge Perry ordered that the video be released to Captain Bolen, who would have 24 hours to review it, followed by release to the Monroe City Council and general public.
Judge Perry did not order the video to be edited in any way, including to protect the privacy of any minors, hotel or hospital staff or patients who may be in the video.
The City of Monroe is aligned with the order and understands that editing the video in any way before it is released could raise questions about the way the events progressed and how police responded. However, the City asks media outlets who release video or stills from the video use care and consideration when determining what and whom to show.