Public Body Worn Camera Videos
The Burlington Police Department places value on transparency and professionalism. The Department is a trauma Informed police agency and is concerned with the psychological welfare of everyone in our community. Body-worn camera footage can include upsetting or traumatic images. Body-worn cameras work in a unique way to capture video for evidentiary purposes. When an officer turns on the camera, it immediately begins to record audio and video of the current event. It also goes back and captures 30 seconds of video only that temporarily records in a buffer space. That first 30 seconds of video plays at the beginning of each recording without audio. This is a standard function of body-worn cameras.
Body-worn camera footage is released pursuant to a Superior Court Order. Learn more about the City of Burlington's body worn cameras.
June/July 2020 incidents in reference to community member allegations of misconduct:
Warning: This video contains strong language. Images and information may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewers Discretion is advised for young children and sensitive viewers.
Advisement: Portions of this video have been redacted to protect the identities of patients and non-involved parties that were captured in this video.
The video you are about to watch has been released at the request of the Burlington City Council in response to public allegations of misconduct by the Burlington Police Department made by a community member. Emails alleging misconduct, specifically: Incompetent Performance of Duty, Unprofessionalism-Rudeness & Code of Conduct were sent to members of City staff, City Council, and media outlets by a community member outlining allegations of misconduct regarding two specific interactions with Burlington Police Officers. Personal social media posts and email messages from this community member have also stated allegations of misconduct by the Burlington Police Department.
On October 6, 2020, during the public comment period at the Burlington City Council meeting, the community member referenced multiple complaints they had previously filed with the Burlington Police Department alleging misconduct by Burlington Police officers and perceived mishandling of these complaints by the Chief of Police and the Burlington Police Department. These complaints had been documented, investigated, and resolved by Burlington Police Department with communication back to the community member regarding the conclusion of these complaints. During that same City Council Meeting on October 6, 2020, in the interest of transparency, the City Council unanimously voted to direct the City Attorney to file a motion via N.C.G.S. 132-1.4A(g) to obtain the court's authorization to publicly release any Body Worn Camera video related to the incidents identified by the community member. The release of the body-worn camera footage was authorized in Alamance County Superior Court by Judge Tom Lambeth on November 16, 2020.
It is the intent of the City of Burlington and all its departments to listen to community complaints and concerns, investigate them fully and communicate the findings back in a timely manner. Action is always taken if misconduct is determined to have occurred. After investigation and review of body-worn cameras, the complaints and allegations of misconduct were deemed unsubstantiated. Once the complaints were investigated there were additional layers of review, including reviews by both the Chief of Police and the City Manager. Those reviews also led to the conclusion that no misconduct had occurred.
This matter, having been voiced by a community member without full transparency, may cause one to wonder about the integrity of the City of Burlington and the Burlington Police Department’s staff and procedures. Burlington City Council has taken this opportunity to share (with formal authorization by Judge Lambeth) all available Body Worn Camera footage concerning these two incidents to help provide context for the public and the community we serve. The Burlington Police Department has robust systems in place to accept feedback and formal complaints. To learn more go to www.BurlingtonNC.gov/Police. Each video begins with footage of the resident recounting the substance of his complaint. The video then presents the incident from start to finish including the same introductory complaint footage as it occurred during the incident.