BYH to the City of Greenville if they will install Hybrid Beacon lights at mid-block crosswalks. These crosswalks are...

ECU, city should grant access to assault video


A student walks toward a video camera at the West End Dining Hall on the campus of East Carolina University on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

The authorities who have possession of video documents of an assault on a black man by a group of white people in March 2016 can and should allow the public to access them.

The Daily Reflector, other news agencies and community groups have asked to view available video of the incident. Multiple requests have been issued been since the assault on Patrick Myrick occurred on St. Patrick’s Day.

An East Carolina University Police Department officer was fired because he handcuffed Myrick after responding to the scene where six people had been hitting and kicking him, officials said at the time. A camera at the West End Dining Hall captured that part of the incident, and a camera at a private business recorded potions of the assault on Cotanche Street, where it began outside Club 519.

Myrick, accused of starting the incident by hitting a woman outside the club earlier that night, suffered a broken nose, a concussion, had bruises all over his body and swollen eyes, and was at the hospital for 12 hours, according to the police investigation. He later had to see specialists for treatment of his wounds.

Officials denied requests to provide the video files previously because the case had not been prosecuted and the documents were part of an ongoing investigation. Last month, however, the six people accused in the incident pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of assault inflicting serious injury.

The Pitt County District Attorney’s office, which had earlier prevented public access to the files, said after the case had been resolved that requests to obtain the video could be made directly to the city and East Carolina University. So far those requests have been denied.

ECU officials said General Statute 132-1.4A prohibited the release of video recorded there. The law was enacted by leaders in state government on Oct. 1, 2016, to bar members of the public from accessing many video records unless they are able to obtain a court order. It’s a bad law that needs to be repealed, but it is irrelevant in this case.

The law does not apply to video from ECU because that was recorded and requests to view it were made prior to Oct. 1, 2016. It does not apply to video collected by the city because that was recorded on a private camera, the city said. Neither the city nor ECU, therefore, is prohibited from allowing people to view the documents.

Unfortunately, no law clearly defines such video documents as public records, which would compel officials to release them, according to Amanda Martin, general counsel to the North Carolina Press Association.

But nothing says they can’t release the videos, either. In fact, authorities routinely release video whenever they decide it serves them. Every week we see images from crimes captured by public and private cameras in hopes that someone might help police identify suspects.

So, it appears that the authorities in this case have a simple choice: Be transparent and allow the public to see what happened on its streets and campus, or deny them that right and keep them out of the light.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


October 23, 2018

A disturbing Associated Press report shines a light on what happens to immigrant children separated from their parents and forced into foster-care settings mandated by the U.S. government. In a small number of cases, foster-care networks have yanked permanent custody of young children from their…

Immigration The Battle For Alexa-3

October 22, 2018

After Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael left their trails of death and destruction across North Carolina, it’s time to clean up, repair, help those in need and move forward. But it also should be time to think about what environmental lessons these powerful storms leave behind.…

Tropical Weather

October 21, 2018

The first day of early voting would seem to telegraph the message that this year’s mid-term election has generated a lot of interest in the direction of our government at every level and in the individuals who voters are looking to for leadership.

Many important issues, from taxation to…


October 20, 2018

With the controversy of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s claims to be part Native American still swirling through the political atmosphere, it is important that we hear the voices of actual Native Americans.

They’re not too thrilled. Native American groups say they’re tired of being a…

Elizabeth Warren Heritage Trump-4

October 19, 2018

The most impressive statement to make about Sears as it seeks bankruptcy court protection is also the most damning: Sears was the Amazon of its time.

Impressive because Sears really was that influential long ago. Damning because the company’s decline wasn’t preordained. Sears could have…

Sears Chapter 11

October 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence turned the Cape Fear River into more of an open sewer than it already was. The heavy rains and flooding added human waste, livestock waste, industrial waste, petrochemical runoff and other hazardous substances to a river that was already profoundly compromised by the waste…

Tropical Weather-Toxic Sites-1

October 17, 2018

Saudi Arabia, so far, has tried bluster and bullying to silence the questions about journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. On Sunday, a regime statement threatened to "respond with a larger action" to any sanction stemming from the case; Saudi-…

US Missing Writer

October 16, 2018

This has been a banner season for punishing white-collar crime. Guilty pleas by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former longtime personal lawyer, and criminal convictions and additional guilty pleas in the case of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have drawn enormous attention.…

Trump Political Fallout

October 15, 2018

Nearly three dozen administration officials have left or been forced out of key posts since President Donald Trump was sworn in last year. Few, if any, will be missed as much as Nikki Haley, who announced her resignation as United Nations ambassador on Tuesday.

For a former South Carolina…

Trump Haley-2

October 14, 2018

It’s the kind of anniversary no one wants to remember. A year ago this past Friday, four inmates at Pasquotank Correctional Institution beat to death four correctional employees in a failed escape attempt.

The brutal murders on Oct. 12, 2017, coming on the heels of the vicious murder of a…

100 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 10
        Next Page»   Last Page»