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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Body Cam Footage – Racial Epithets

Where defendant testified that she would not intentionally spit on a police officer because “it’s just disrespectful,” the trial court did not err in allowing the state to rebut this assertion and to show defendant’s animus towards the police on the night of her arrest via a video of her in the back of a police car referring to Officer St. John as a “black n****r,” Officer Ford as a “b***h ass white girl,” and saying both officers worked for “white n****rs.” Defendant’s use of these disrespectful and provocative phrases and racial epithets against the police officers was relevant and probative of whether defendant had an animus towards police officers that would provide both a motive for her to intentionally spit blood and saliva on Officer Schneider and to rebut her contention she would not act so “disrespectfully.”

We find no error in defendant’s convictions of malicious conduct by a prisoner and resisting a public officer.

Defendant’s own testimony describing her use of the term “n****r” as normal, in effect, mitigates any prejudicial effect of the jury hearing her call the police officers profane racial epithets. The jury properly heard, not only the words defendant used, but the manner, method and volume used to deliver them. Defendant has failed to show that the prejudicial effect of the challenged evidence substantially outweighed its probative value.

State v. Chisholm (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-149-18, 12 pp.) (John Tyson, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court (Lisa Bell, J.) Katherine McCraw for the state; Paul Herzog for defendant. N.C. App. Unpub.


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