Along with Sen. Joyce Kraweic (Forsyth) and former Rep. John Hardister (Guilford), Rep. John Faircloth (High Point) joined the slew of state-level Republicans who announced their retirement from public life this year.

We acknowledge Faircloth’s many years of service to the NC Legislature — he was first elected in 2010, unopposed, the same year Republicans took over the state legislature in more than 100 years and two years after Barack Obama won the state in his presidential run.

Those events are connected.

Now, at the end of Faircloth’s career, let’s take the opportunity to dismantle the worst law he ever sponsored, with the most far-reaching consequences.

Back in 2016, HB 972 declared that police body-camera footage, every minute of it, would not be considered public record. From the moment Gov. Pat McCrory signed it on July 11, 2016, a court order would be required to obtain any body-camera footage from any law enforcement agency in the state.

In that time, Marcus Smith was killed by Greensboro police, provable only by the hard-won body-cam footage the department eventually released. John Neville was killed by staff at the Forsyth County Jail, which was established by the publicly released body camera footage.

Even municipalities like the city of Greensboro have to get the approval of a Superior Court judge before seeing footage of their own police departments.

Let’s flip this one, making public record the default on police body-camera footage, and requiring a court order to suppress the footage contained therein. And while we’re at it, let’s require all law enforcement officers in NC to wear body cameras while on duty — surely there’s some room in the state budget for more cop stuff — and stiffen penalties for turning them off or wearing malfunctioning equipment.

We know Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-High Point) has an interest and a few favors in the pipeline. We say it’s time for him to make his move.

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