WILMINGTON, N.C -- A police officer was caught on video telling an Uber driver that it was against the law to record law enforcement.
However, no such law exists.
CBS affiliate WNCN reported that the unidentified officer appeared to lie about the law. The driver, Jesse Bright, recorded the interaction when he was pulled over in February.
Bright, who also is a defense attorney, was stopped shortly after picking up a customer from what the officer's described as a known drug house.
The officer was backed up by a New Hanover County Sheriff's Deputy who agreed with the officer that there was such a law prohibiting recording of a police officer on the books.
Bright, knowing he was within his rights, did not comply with the command and kept recording during a contentious back-and-forth between himself and the officer. The officers then proceeded to perform a K-9 search of the vehicle. The initial search indicated a presence of narcotics, which led police to conduct a search of the vehicle, according to NBC affiliate WECT.
The searches revealed nothing. Neither Bright nor his passenger were arrested during the incident, However the video prompted the police department to conduct an internal affairs investigation on the officer's actions.
Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous released a statement Wednesday clarifying the department's position on recording law enforcement.
Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight including the police is your legal right. As a matter of fact we invite citizens to do so when they believe it is necessary. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during police and citizen interaction.”
The deputy who backed up the officer's incorrect assertion wasnot identified, although the sheriff's office affirmed that the deputy has been told that recording is legal and that other deputies were also instructed as well, WECT reported.