Thursday, July 17, 2014
Anti-police harassment case in court
Debra says things went south in a hurry on September 25th, when she began recording EMTS and two police officers attending to a disabled woman at the corner of Broadway and West 73rd street.
Debra is the plaintiff representing other police video documenters, in a federal lawsuit that seeks to give people the right – under the First Amendment – to record police officers working in public places.
That right already exists in several other cities, but there is no specific law on the books in New York.
While they haven’t seen the case, a spokesperson from the NYC Law Department issued a statement regarding the NYPD’s policy in bystanders filming police.
“Bystanders are allowed to film police officers as long they’re not interfering with the officers’ duties and/or police operations,” she said. “People are also allowed to film public officials with the same principles in mind.”
However, the Justice Department recognizes a citizen’s right to roll on the cops, writing in a 2012 memorandum,
“Officers should be advised not to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise discourage an individual from recording police officer enforcement activities or intentionally block or obstruct cameras or recording devices.”
“We’re pretty confident legally, especially with the precedent from the first, the seventy, the ninth, and eleventh court of appeals. Our sense is, this makes absolute sense. That as long as you’re not interfering with the police doing their job, why can’t you record it?” said Siegel.
Debra Goodman says her desire to turn ordinary walks into an exercise in law enforcement accountability, shouldn’t come with the gift of twenty five hours in custody…which is what she says happened following her own arrest.