Today, at the invitation of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the Policing Project at New York University School of Law has launched a website, www.nypdbodycameras.org, which contains a brief questionnaire to gather public feedback on the NYPD’s proposed body-worn camera policy. Individuals and organizations may provide additional feedback through a comment portal. Community stakeholders in New York City will have the opportunity to provide this valuable input from June 29 through July 31, 2016. 

NYPD body camera

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has long advocated for meaningful and substantive community input in the development of police policies and practices. “We encourage NYC residents, especially communities of color, public housing residents, and other individuals most likely to interact with police officers, to participate in the questionnaire and comment portal on the important and pressing issue of body worn cameras,” said Angel Harris, Assistant Counsel at LDF. “This is an opportunity for the community to have their voices heard.”

By going to the website, www.nypdbodycameras.org, New York City residents can access a current draft of the NYPD’s proposed body-worn camera policy and a brief fact sheet highlighting the policy’s main points.  The questionnaire will seek community input on important policy issues such as:

  • Whether residents favor the NYPD’s use of body cameras
  • When an officer should be required to turn on the camera
  • Whether an officer should be allowed to view video footage prior to writing a report
  • When video footage of a high-profile incident should be publicly available

At the end of the public process, the Policing Project will prepare a report summarizing and analyzing the feedback from the questionnaire responses and comments. The NYPD will provide a public response to the feedback that was received. The NYPD’s final policy regarding body-worn cameras is subject to review by the Court-appointed Monitor of the NYPD and approval by a federal court.

NYPD body cameraIn April 2015, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), along with its co-counsel Legal Aid Society, entered into a settlement agreement in Davis et al. v. City of New York et al., a federal class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents and their visitors. This case challenged the NYPD’s policy and practice of unlawfully stopping and arresting NYCHA residents and their visitors for criminal trespass without sufficient evidence and in a racially discriminatory manner. As a part of the settlement, Davis joined the court monitoring process ordered by the federal court in the stop-and-frisk lawsuit Floyd v. City of New York

As part of the remedies ordered in the Floyd case, the court ordered a pilot program in which approximately 1,000 NYPD officers in 20 precincts across New York City will be equipped with body-worn cameras. The NYPD policy on body-worn cameras, and the feedback elicited from the Policing Project’s website, are a part of this pilot program. LDF supports greater transparency in police interactions with the communities they serve and better protections against unlawful enforcement activity and use of force that also respect the privacy and other rights of individuals and communities. We will closely monitor this process and the results of the survey in pursuit of these larger goals. 

Press

  • Gothamist: Emma Whitford, The NYPD Wants To Know What YOU Think Of Its Proposed Body Camera Policy (Jun. 29, 1016)
       
    ‘Many questions in the survey are followed by a blank (optional) comment section. “We encourage NYC residents, especially communities of color, public housing residents, and other individuals most likely to interact with police officers, to participate in the questionnaire,” said Legal Defense Fund council Angel Harris in a statement.’

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.