CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is launching an educational campaign focusing on the investigation process for officer-involved shootings and the release of body-worn cameras.
The campaign is intended to help the community understand the methods and timing associated with the release of information during officer-involved shootings.
The announcement of the campaign comes weeks after a man was shot and killed in a Burger King parking lot by a CMPD officer in north Charlotte.
“When an officer fires a weapon, two parallel investigations take place, each involving multiple steps,” said CMPD Chief Kerr Putney. “It is important to tell the public what has occurred. But two things must be considered: 1) the integrity of these active investigations is paramount 2) CMPD does not have the authority to release certain information, such as body worn camera video, without authorization from a superior court judge.”
After an officer-involved shooting occurs, administrative and criminal investigations are launched at the same time.
Police say the officer’s actions are reviewed by the Internal Affairs Bureau to determine if the department’s polices and procedures were followed during the administrative investigation.
During the criminal investigation the officer’s actions are reviewed by the CMPD Officer-Involved Shooting Team, the State Medical Examiner’s Officer and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office.
Body-worn cameras which are not required by state or federal law are also reviewed during both investigations. The officer activates the device before arriving at a call for service or the anticipation of a crime-related encounter with the public.
CMPD is prohibited from releasing video footage without authorization from the superior court judge who determines if and when the release takes place.
Anyone in the community has the right to petition a judge for the release of body-worn cameras following a shooting.