Protect the Right to Record Police Violence

Target: Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams 

Goal: Don’t infringe on the right of people to document police misconduct. 

During a conference unveiling the NYPD’s new Neighborhood Safety Teams, Eric Adams had another message to convey to New Yorkers: when filming police officers, don’t come too close. The Mayor of New York City expressed that he does not want citizens interfering with police work, which he emphasized was a very dangerous job. These comments are another instance of Adams prioritizing city policing over the well-being and rights of his constituents. Support the people of New York City’s right to record and demand Mayor Eric Adams stop obstructing our right to hold law enforcement accountable. 

“If your iPhone can’t catch that picture with you being at a safe distance, then you need to upgrade your iPhone. Stop being on top of my police officers while they’re carrying out their jobs. That is not acceptable and it won’t be tolerated.” The comments come in seeming reference to the implementation of the department’s new uniformed Neighborhood Safety Teams that would put 490 new cops on the streets. His warning has already sparked responses from civil rights groups like the ACLU from New York, who tweeted a reminder that “People have a right to film police work in public [and] You can’t order [people] to stop filming.” Corey Stoughton of the Legal Aid Society has also voiced concerns, stating that he worries “officers listening to what the mayor said will see this as a blessing to interfere with the public’s right to record.”

This police-centric, condescending rhetoric, coupled with the increased law enforcement presence scheduled for the city’s communities of color, is harmful, as it discourages citizens to keep a watchful eye out for abuses of power. Mayor Adams is teetering on the thin line between protecting his safety agents and infringing on the rights of his citizenry. Sign below to support the right to record.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Adams, 

According to the Reporter’s Committee For Freedom of the Press, a New York Statute protects our right to record law enforcement, as long as the recorder is not under arrest. Their determinations further state that “if a police officer interferes with an individual’s right to record,” then “that person may bring a civil suit for damages and attorneys’ fees.” 

We demand that you cease infringing on the people of New York City’s settled right to record and hold police officers accountable for possible unlawful actions. The ability to monitor public servants is a civil right that Americans fought for. It is a pillar of civil and social justice, as well as equitable policing. Your words threaten to instate a dangerous precedent and are extremely pejorative to New Yorkers as a whole. You are no better than the people you serve.  

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit:  Pax Ahimsa Gethen


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