NYPD Officers Prevented Nearly 100 People from Recording Police, Report Shows

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Officers of the New York Police Department have been accused of preventing scores of people from videotaping police interactions over the past three years, according to a report released by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).

The Board received some 257 complaints between 2014 and 2016, and 346 allegations that officers attempted to interfere with recording police activity by knocking phones out of people’s hands, blocking them or threatening arrest.

Ninety-six of those allegations were substantiated by the Board, or around 28 percent, but it is likely that many more similar incidents occur and go unreported.

“There is clearly a segment of officers—perhaps very small, but nevertheless real—who feel that they may violate the First Amendment rights of people who record them,” wrote Jonathan Blanks, a research associate for the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice and the managing editor of PoliceMisconduct.net.

Over half of the complaints were made by people recording their own interactions with police. In 65 cases, they accused officers of either damaging their recording device, or actually deleting the recording from the device.

“Police officers should be held accountable for their actions,” Blanks wrote. “Unfortunately, New York State law prohibits the Department or the CCRB from releasing the names of officers who have complaints lodged against them, whether or not they are sustained, or what the outcomes of any disciplinary actions taken were short of termination.”

The CCRB is recommending the NYPD create new guidelines in its Patrol Guide regarding procedures for handling people who choose to record police, including a section explaining the public’s Constitutional right to record or document police activity.

“The lack of transparency is not limited to New York, by any means, but the NYPD’s institutional dedication to data collection at least gives us a glimpse of what is going on,” Blanks wrote. “Getting the right to record in the Patrol Manual is a good start, but the State of New York should repeal the anonymity granted to misbehaving officers. Such laws punish the best officers by making them indistinguishable from those who intentionally—and sometimes repeatedly—violate the rights of the people they are supposed to serve.”

Blanks’ own write-up on the CCRB report includes a lot of useful information, including an important court opinion on the right to record police, Blanks’ testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding police practices and the use of force, as well as an interesting 2014 CATO Institute panel on similar subjects.

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  • This sounds like a shortage of telephoto lenses to me.

  • Cracker122049

    The last thing the pigs want to shed light on is the truth. They want the truth to be whatever they say the truth is and nothing less!

    • lastnerve

      sounds like CNN

  • It is not Paranoia

    What are you supposed to do when a cop tries to stop you from filming? Serious question.

    • RMS1911

      Remind them the Supreme Court said it’s legal then threaten them with 18 USC 242.

    • WKP AnCap

      You may find some stuff relevant to your question in the resources I linked to in the last paragraph of the article.

  • RMS1911

    Bodycams will stop most of this as long as you can access the footage.

    • Pat Taylor ╚(ಠ_ಠ)=┐

      Along with publicly revocable professional licensing

  • Pat Taylor ╚(ಠ_ಠ)=┐

    Criminals fear their criminal acts being recorded, Donut Nazi™ prefer to do business without oversight.

    • Anncwhisnant

      my buddy’s mother in law makes $78 an hour at home and she’s been out of a job for 2 months.. the previous month her income was $15731 just working on the internet four hours each day, ➤ go to➤ this link

  • edrebber

    It’s interesting that police will rage against a citizen recording their actions but are passive and submissive when told to wear a body camera.

    • Pat Taylor ╚(ಠ_ಠ)=┐

      That is due to the fact that they know how hard it is to acquire body cam video … And even if a request for the video is satisfied, you know Donut Nazi™ will edit out encriminating scenes and audio — all in the name of officer safety and don’t forget the policemens bill of rights —

  • Uncle Hormone

    The NYC Police have violated the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that does allow for the filming of the cops!
    This means that a lawsuit will have to be filed, and a multi-tiered method of filming must commence; aka filmers filming filmers who are filming the cops!!!

  • SP_88

    Their refusal to accept responsibility for their actions is just one of many complaints about the current police state. These cops have totally forgotten that they are public servants.
    I think that there should be a big campaign to film the police in a very obvious and in your face kind of way, even if they aren’t doing anything at the moment. Let them know that we know that they cannot stop people from filming them no matter what.
    And any cops that try to interfere with the legal recording of police activity should have their name and badge number posted on a website devoted to bad cops. And make sure that all recordings are immediately uploaded to a server, so if any of these idiots tries to erase the video or damage the device, too late. Also, every person recording them up close should be recorded from a distance with a zoom lens by someone who is hidden from view. Let them think that they’ve destroyed the device or stopped the recording, to see what they do when they believe that nobody is watching.

    • Lizabethjrichard

      my buddy’s step aunt gets $90 each hour on the internet… she has been without work for 7 months and the previous month her pay was $21702 only working on the internet for five hours a day, ➤ go to➤ this page