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Cops and Cameras Not Getting Along

Rising Complaints About Police Reaction to Smartphone Video

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WNYC
protesters, nypd, police, cops More and more police work is done on camera. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Members of the Civilian Complaint Review Board said on Wednesday that the agency will conduct a study to address increasing complaints about how police officers react to being videotaped while on duty.

The NYPD patrol guide states that citizens can observe and record a police encounter as long as it doesn't interfere with an officer doing his or her job. It's more common with the availability of smart phones, but many officers still don’t respond kindly to being taped. Tosano Simonetti, a former NYPD first deputy commissioner and CCRB board member, said that it’s human nature to respond emotionally.

“They might say shut that off you can't be doing that," Simonetti said at a CCRB meeting Wednesday. 

Chris Dunn, associate legal director with the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the agency has been suing the NYPD for years for ticketing and arresting people for taking footage. He said that any changes have to come from the top of the department.

“There just needs to be a sea change in the attitude of officers,” said Dunn.

Det. James Duffy, an NYPD spokesman, said that incidents are often less about wanting to stop someone from videotaping and more about some other concern — like yelling in an officer’s face or a dangerous situation.

“Creating a distraction or chaos is breaking the law,” said Duffy.

Several CCRB members said that special training may be warranted to help officers respond properly. 

Editors:

David L. Lewis

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Comments [2]

joe from san diego

I would be angry too if i was used to assulting civilians and getting away with it

May. 16 2014 12:13 AM
stefano from 11206

NYPD officer could just claim "disorderly conduct" and arrest a photographer. So many improper arrests caught on camera (like the bicyclist near Times square shoved to the ground. I think the NYPD had charged the guy with assaulting an officer. The viral video of the incident changed everything)

May. 15 2014 10:38 AM

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