Gastonia, NC — Joshua Rohrer is an honorably discharged Army veteran who, like tens of thousands of other veterans, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in Afghanistan. As a result of his illness, Rohrer hasn’t been able to hold down a job and is homeless. As panhandling is illegal in the city, Rohrer simply sits on the street and waves to folks as they walk by — which ended in October with a violent encounter with police. Now, three months later and Rohrer is trying to prove his innocence, but the city is blocking the release of body camera footage.
Why? ” Its “release may harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person,” among other things.
Last week, Superior Court Judge Stephan Furtrell denied the release of the body camera footage, citing the following reasons.
- The recording contains information that is otherwise confidential or exempt from disclosure or release under state or federal law.
- Release would reveal information regarding a person that is of a highly sensitive personal nature.
- Release may harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person.
- Release would create a series threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice.
- Confidentiality is necessary to protect either an active or inactive internal or criminal investigation or potential internal or criminal investigation.
On October 13, Rohrer was doing what he normally did every day and was sitting at the intersection of Cox Road and Gaston Mall Drive around 6:30 p.m. with his dog. When a “concerned citizen” drove by and noticed Rohrer and his dog, she called police to report the homeless veteran for begging for money, and “using his service dog for sympathy.”
Read More: Court Blocks Body Cam of Cops Beating Veteran and His Service Dog As it May Harm Cop’s “Reputation”