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To: New York City Police Department
Tell the NYPD: Support community solutions to police violence, not false solutions
Dear New York Police Department,
The NYPD’s current process for public comments on your new body worn camera policy is a false process to support a false solution.
The process for public comments lacks transparency and accountability. Currently, there is no independent oversight of the process. The public is not guaranteed access to a summary of the comments before they are given to the department, nor is the department held accountable for incorporating feedback.
Even if the process was different, the proposed policy is problematic in these ways:
-It allows officers to view footage of incidents before making any official statement, even in incidents when the officer used deadly force.
-It does not provide complainants access to the footage relevant to their complaint.
-There are no safeguards against cameras becoming a tool for surveillance, such as limits on the use of biometric technologies like facial recognition software.
We encourage the NYPD to develop a comments process that allows the public to have a fair voice and ensures the department is held accountable for incorporating public feedback.
Why is this important?
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has begun a “public” comment process for their new body worn camera policy. But, don’t be fooled, this is a false process for a false solution.
The NYPD is buying 1,000 body-worn cameras for officers to wear across the city. They have opened up a public comment period that is supposed to guide how the NYPD uses these cameras. But this public comment process doesn’t give us, the public, any real authority to shape how the NYPD uses body-worn cameras.
The Policing Project at New York University will review the public comments and prepare an internal report that summarizes them. There is no oversight by elected officials or New York residents. All the NYPD has to do is release a public response explaining if they adjusted their policy based on input -- That’s it! This is a false process.
The debate over police body worn cameras entered the national dialogue after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The President and members of Congress offered cameras as a solution to increase police accountability. As a result, federal, state, and local dollars have been spent to use them in our communities.
But, as the case of Eric Garner in New York proved, cameras do not stop police violence against black communities. In fact, these devices and other police technologies only increase the potential for racial profiling and surveillance. Remember, body worn cameras are facing us, not the police.
To make our communities safer, we cannot offer false solutions to a real problem. If the NYPD was invested in making communities safer, it would advocate for real community solutions such as job programs, affordable housing, and education. Not money going toward cameras that make the problem worse.
Chinyere and the rest of Team #MediaJustice