On Thursday, the Center for Constitutional Rights challenged the NYPD’s body camera policies, asking a judge to block the city’s forthcoming pilot program, which is slated to outfit 1,000 officers with body cameras as early as next week. The cameras were supposed to be a step forward for police accountability and transparency, but the CCR says the current policy dictating their use gives officers too much discretion about when to record, and makes it too difficult for the public to see the footage after the fact.
In 2013, the CCR won a landmark ruling against the NYPD that found the its stop-and-frisk policies violated the 4th and 14th amendments rights of black and latino men, who were unfairly targeted by the practice. The court ordered a series of reforms, one of which was implementing a body camera program to increase officer transparency. The crux of the CCR’s challenge is that the NYPD’s current body camera policies instead undermine officer transparency, and thus doesn’t satisfy the reform requirements granted by the original suit. They want the NYPD to hold the program until the policies are revised.
“We’ve asked that the policy require that any time an office speak to a civilians pursuant to investigating any type of criminal activity...that encounter should be recorded,” Darius Charney, Senior Staff Attorney for the CCR told Gizmodo.