Police misconduct is a horrifying thing to think about. Whether it’s an officer harassing someone or brutalizing someone they’re arresting for no good reason, the reality is that they aren’t doing their job and are violating the law.
One thing that has helped in these cases is the use of police body cameras. One problem, though, is how slowly the New York Police Department, or NYPD, has been turning over the tapes.
Since the body camera program began, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has asked for body camera footage over 4,000 times. This footage could help substantiate claims made about officers, but only if it’s received. The board reported that it only received the requested footage around half the time it requested it. When it did get it, the amount of time it took was much longer than in the past.
Any body-worn camera is supposed to be turned on when an officer is working. It isn’t always, though, which means that claims made by the public aren’t always able to be substantiated. Video footage is necessary when deciding if an officer has behaved correctly and professionally during an altercation, for example, or if they actually engaged in misconduct.
The NYPD has denied many requests over concerns of confidentiality and privacy laws. It also redacted up to 63% of videos in the second quarter of 2019, which means that some footage couldn’t be seen. They also gave no reason for the redactions that were made.
This kind of behavior is frightening for the public, and for good reason. Policies should be followed so that everyone can be safe. If you’ve been the victim of police misconduct, find out what options you have.