Deputies: Law requires secrecy for fatal shooting files

A North Carolina sheriff's office says it's obligated by state law to keep investigative files secret as it fights an excessive-force lawsuit.

Lawyers for Harnett County Sheriff's Office deputies responded this week to a legal filing by The Associated Press and other news organizations seeking to make evidence public, including State Bureau of Investigation files related to the deputies' actions. They argue the public has the right to the information.

The deputies were sued by plaintiffs including the mother of John David Livingston, who was fatally shot in 2015 by a Harnett County deputy. She was joined by others plaintiffs who say they were the victims of unjustifiably harsh police tactics.

The deputies deny a pattern of excessive force and say they were provoked by Livingston and other plaintiffs