RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill today that would expunge the records of anyone cleared of a crime after being the victim of identity theft or mistaken identity. Joining McCrory were Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham), other lawmakers and Charles Belk, a man who was mistaken for a bank robber and incurred months of time and anguish to clear his name. Senate Bill 233 passed the House last week after passing the Senate in April.
“People who are misidentified shouldn’t have to pay for it for the rest of their lives,” McCrory said when signing the bill. “I hope other governors around the country will follow my lead.”
Belk was detained in 2014 in California after he police said he matched the description of an armed bank robber. Although Belk was let go in a matter of hours and given paperwork proving he was neither arrested nor charged with a crime, Belk had to endure a lengthy legal process to have his erroneous arrest record sealed and destroyed.
Belk gave credit to the governor and McKissock for the legislation, and to his friends and family for helping him through the process.
“I saw [McKissick] last year and mentioned this… activity to him, and he right away said ‘absolutely I’ll do something for you about that.’ And to see it this day come to this point — not just for me but for all the folks in this state and in this country… is incredible and wonderful.”
Along with McKissick, legislators Sen. Stan Bingham, Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Morganton) were on hand for the signing ceremony.