IN THE MATTER OF CUSTODIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT RECORDING SOUGHT BY CITY OF GREENSBORO
in the Court of Appeals 8 May 2019.
by Plaintiff from order entered 23 February 2018 by Judge
Susan Bray in Guilford County Superior Court Nos.
17-CvS-9423, 17-CvS-9539, 17-CvS-9540, 17-CvS-9673-74.
Rothschild LLP, by Patrick M. Kane and Kip David Nelson, and
City of Greensboro Attorney's Office, by Rosetta Davidson
Davis, for Petitioner-Appellant City of Greensboro.
Rossabi Reardon Klein Spivey PLLC, by Gavin J. Reardon and
Amiel J. Rossabi, for Other-Appellee Involved Greensboro
L. Chambers Center for Civil Rights, by Mark Dorosin and
Elizabeth Haddix, ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, by
Christopher A. Brook, and Tin, Fulton, Walker & Owen,
PLLC, by S. Luke Largess and Cheyenne N. Chambers, for Amici
City of Greensboro (the "City") appeals from the
trial court's order denying its Motion to Modify
Restrictions placed on Greensboro city council members, which
allowed them to view certain recordings from body cameras
("body-cams") worn by Greensboro Police Department
officers, but which limited their ability to discuss
the recordings in a public setting. The City contends that
the trial court's restrictions interfere with the city
council members' fundamental responsibilities to their
constituents and violate council members' First Amendment
rights. After careful consideration, we affirm.
case arises from a 10 September 2016 incident in downtown
Greensboro, resulting in the arrest of several individuals by
Greensboro police officers (the "Officers"). The
parties to this action are the City and the Officers.
footage of the incident was recorded by the Officers'
body-cams. The City petitioned the footage be made available
to members of its City council to view.
January 2018, the trial court entered orders (the
"Release Orders") allowing members of the
City's governing council and certain other City officials
to view the body-cam footage, but subject to a limited gag
order, as follows: those City officials choosing to view the
footage would not be allowed to discuss the footage except
amongst themselves in the performance of their official
duties. This Release Order further provided that any
violation of the gag order would subject the offender to a
fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) and imprisonment
of up to thirty (30) days. The Release Order, though, allowed
the City Attorney to seek modification of the gag order in
following month, in February 2018, the City moved to lift the
gag order, to allow its officials to discuss the body-cam
footage with their constituents and others. After a hearing
on the matter, the trial court entered orders denied the
City's motions for modification (the "Modification
appeal, the City argues that the trial court committed error
by refusing to ...