In response to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) proposed body camera pilot, Progressive Caucus members submitted the following statement during the period of public comment.
“As champions of the Floyd v. City of New York ruling that significantly reduced stop-and-frisk incidents, the Caucus welcomes the next phase of court-ordered police reforms. We are pleased that the City is undergoing an input process prior to assigning approximately 1,000 body-worn cameras to officers. This is a good step in ensuring an inclusive and transparent program that will improve police interactions.
This pilot provides an opportunity to utilize technology and other modernized data tools for more effective policing while increasing public trust. Body cameras can support accountability with regard to police and public conduct. We affirm that cameras should be used in all proposed instances including; arrests, searches, vertical patrols, uses of force, traffic stops, witness interviews, responses to crimes in progress, transportation in police custody and officer inquiry. We believe the public should feel comfortable reporting crimes to an officer wearing a body camera and be informed of this circumstance as soon as possible without compromising officer safety. Footage of their interaction should also be available upon request during the appropriate retention periods. Additionally, if the camera captures a high-profile incident of interest to the public, the NYPD should release footage as soon as possible without compromising the investigation.
Discriminatory policing practices have reached a fever-pitch with dozens of unarmed fatalities becoming the focus of national attention. At all levels of government, we have a responsibility to correct the impacts of institutionalized racism. Our hope is that with limited discretion and substantial consequences for violations that this body camera program will promote trust, fairness and justice in all communities especially for racial and ethnic minorities.”