Gastonia Police arrested disabled Army Veteran Joshua Rohrer last year and charged him with panhandling. Officers also tased his service dog during the arrest that resulted in the death of the animal. Rohrer, feeling he had been assaulted, pushed for the release of the police body cam video of his arrest and desired the involved officers to be fired.
Rohrer was homeless and living in a tent when he was arrested last October while out with his service dog near a Gastonia shopping center. He was charged with resisting arrest and panhandling after police were called when there was an exchange between him and a nearby car.
During that contentious arrest, an officer shot Rohrer’s service dog with a taser. The dog was hit by a car and died while running loose.
The Gaston County District Attorney dropped the charges against Rohrer months later.
Now after almost a year in wrangling with North Carolina’s body camera laws, a Gaston County judge ordered the release of body camera footage of several police officers’ actions in arresting disabled homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer and then tasering his service dog (that died shortly thereafter) on October 13, 2021.
Despite the incident capturing national media attention, calls for reform from legislators across the country, and nearly a year of protests from members of the community, Gaston County officials had been successful in preventing the body camera footage from being seen by the public.
Last month, however, Mr. Rohrer’s attorney, Andrew LaBreche, filed a petition seeking to force the video’s release. On Wednesday, the judge held an emergency hearing on the matter.
Despite strong objections from the District Attorney and City of Gastonia seeking to withhold significant portions of the footage from the public, the judge reviewed the recordings and ordered that all body camera videos be immediately released in their entirety and with no redactions.
The recordings are expected to be formally released Thursday.