WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – An internal affairs investigation into the way a Wilmington Police sergeant handled a traffic stop on February 26 in which the driver started recording the incident has been closed.RELATED: NC police sergeant tells man to stop recording him due to imaginary state law
Sgt. Kenneth Becker is shown on video telling an Uber driver who was pulled over for a traffic stop that he is not allowed to record the interaction due to a new state law prohibiting the recording of police interactions.
Shortly after that, a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy agrees with the officer that there is a new state law. There is no such law in North Carolina.
Becker was demoted and given a 5-percent pay reduction.
The video comes from defense attorney Jesse Bright, who drives for Uber in his spare time. Bright said he was making a round trip for a customer on February 26 and was stopped shortly after the passenger got back into the vehicle.
Officials launched an internal investigation into the matter almost immediately and reached out to the complainant at that time.
Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said the complaint has been addressed appropriately and action has been taken, but would not disclose more saying “state law prohibits the release of personnel investigation information.”
“This was a matter of maintaining the public’s trust and confidence in our agency,” Evangelous wrote in a statement. “As police officers, we are given a tremendous amount of authority to carry out our jobs. It is undeniable that there is a tremendous expectation from the public for officers to live to a higher standard. I cannot stress enough, that photographing and videotaping the police keeps us accountable. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during police and citizen interaction.”
Becker has been with the Wilmington Police Department for 17 years and is currently assigned to the Planning and Research Division.