New York police body camera program needs changes: civil rights lawyers




  • In US
  • 2017-04-20 00:03:22Z
  • By By Jonathan Stempel

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Civil rights lawyers on Wednesday demanded changes to a pilot program for New York City police to wear body cameras, saying it does not ensure that officers are held properly accountable for how they treat people.

The court-ordered program, whose details were approved by a federal monitor last week, was intended to precede a rollout of the cameras to all patrol officers by the end of 2019.

That came after the New York Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" methods, faulted by critics as a means to conduct racial profiling, were declared unconstitutional.

But lawyers including Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Angel Harris of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the year-long pilot program was vague about when officers must use cameras.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan, they said officers should be required to turn cameras on during "forcible" stops, encounters where people are free to walk away and when they are "generally" looking out for crime.

The lawyers also said the program should clarify when officers must alert people about the cameras, and that officers cannot review videos until after writing their reports or making statements, so the footage does not color their recollections.

"Details of the policy as approved by the monitor turn the cameras from an accountability tool into a tool for surveilling and criminalizing New Yorkers," the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement.

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city's law department, said: "We are reviewing the plaintiffs' submission and will respond in due course."

The stop-and-frisk litigation helped start the body camera program in New York City, which joined cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., that also adopted the devices.

Such efforts were launched amid nationwide concerns about the use of excessive force by police, especially against black and Hispanic people.

The monitor, Peter Zimroth, on April 11 urged Torres to let the program go ahead without further court intervention. But the civil rights lawyers disagreed, citing a risk that police unions may try to block it in court.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who has had an uneven relationship with the police department, favors equipping patrol officers with body cameras. He is seeking re-election in November.

The cases are Floyd v City of New York, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-01034; and Davis v City of New York in the same court, No. 10-00699.


(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Trott)

COMMENTS

More Related News

New York
New York's Metropolitan Museum mulls setting fixed admission fee
  • US
  • 2017-04-26 20:50:21Z

New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world's most visited museums, is in talks with city officials about charging a fixed admission fee for out-of town visitors, rather than urging a donation, the city said on Wednesday. "We have spoken to the Metropolitan Museum about the possibility of changing its admission structure -- not for New Yorkers, but for out of town visitors," Tom Finkelpearl, the city's cultural affairs commissioner, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ashley Graham Trips on Her Jimmy Choo Heels at TIME 100 Gala (but Recovers Like a Pro)
Ashley Graham Trips on Her Jimmy Choo Heels at TIME 100 Gala (but Recovers Like a Pro)

Ashley Graham Trips on Her Jimmy Choo Heels at TIME 100 Gala

Ex-prosecutor, retired cops charged in New York corruption probe
Ex-prosecutor, retired cops charged in New York corruption probe
  • US
  • 2017-04-25 18:47:08Z

Federal prosecutors say that Paul Dean, 44, and Robert Espinel, 47, took bribes in exchange for approving gun licenses while they were working in the police department's gun licensing division. Prosecutors also charged two so-called "expediters" who paid bribes to help their clients get licenses.

New York City subway faces two lawsuits over disabled access
New York City subway faces two lawsuits over disabled access
  • US
  • 2017-04-25 16:49:53Z

Most of New York City's huge, aging subway system is inaccessible to disabled people, and its operator illegally discriminates against them by failing to fix the problems, disability rights advocates said in two lawsuits on Tuesday. According to complaints filed in federal and state courts in Manhattan, only 112 of the city's 472 subway stations are wheelchair-accessible, and even those often end up off-limits to disabled people because elevators break down so often. Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city's law department, called the plaintiff's claim against the city "misplaced" because the MTA and the New York City Transit Authority oversee subway operations.

Canada: Ontario to pay guaranteed incomes to the poor
Canada: Ontario to pay guaranteed incomes to the poor

Ontario has launched a pilot program to provide a guaranteed basic income to a few thousand people to test its effects on recipients and public finances, the Canadian province announced Monday. Provincial Premier Kathleen Wynne said the program would provide a "basic income" for three years to 4,000 people living under the poverty line.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.