Communities United for Police Reform and Justice Committee Respond to CCRB Report on Hundreds of New Yorkers Prevented from Filming NYPD by Officer Misconduct

In response to a report released by the CCRB documenting hundreds of complaints and instances where NYPD officers interfered with New Yorkers’ First Amendment rights to document policing activity during the first 3 years of the de Blasio administration, Communities United for Police Reform and the Justice Committee released the following statements.

NYPD organized 'large scale' Black Lives Matter surveillance and kept activist photos years later

The NYPD organized a citywide surveillance effort of Black Lives Matter protesters, according to nearly 700 emails obtained by an attorney.
A scene from a Nov. 2017 rally in Union Square, New York City.  GETTY IMAGES
Metro New York

Nearly 700 NYPD emails show a large-scale effort to monitor Black Lives Matter protesters by undercover cops trained to take down organized crime, according to documents obtained by attorney M.J. Williams.

The emails also reveal that the department has held on their findings, including photographs of individual activists, nearly four years later, raising First Amendment concerns. 

NYPD Watchdog: Too Many Cops Are Preventing The Public From Filming Them

The Village Voice

The Civilian Complaint Review Board, New York’s police watchdog organization, released a report on NYPD interference with civilian photography, concluding that “officer interference with civilian recordings of police conduct is an issue in New York City.” A review of cases handled by the agency over a three-year period found 257 interference-related complaints against officers, ranging from verbal interference with filming to physical force and tampering with or deleting recordings.


Black Star News

Communities United for Police Reform responds to Commissioner Bill Bratton’s claim that civilians documenting the police are an “epidemic” that escalates police violence against civilians.

Either Bill Bratton is desperate for national attention or is seeking to deflect from corruption investigations and his impotence in addressing systemic failed police accountability, but it could be all of the above.

'We Protect our Communities': Cop Watchers Speak Out

NBC News

QUEENS, N.Y. — On a recent evening in a nondescript apartment building in the Jackson Heights section of Queens, a small group of young social justice activists gather for a weekly ritual.

Armed with handheld video cameras and know-your-rights pamphlets, they hash out a strategy and exchange information about police movements in the area. All write on their arms the phone number of a lawyer who will bail them out of jail if things go awry.

Protect Yourself & Your Community: Watch the Cops

This week, we learned of the tragic and unjust police killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed 50-year-old Black man in North Charleston, SC. The incident has gained national attention, and the police officer who killed Walter Scott has been fired and charged with murder, in large part because a bystander pulled out their cell phone and started filming. Today, there is a growing #CopWatch movement of individuals and groups who are exercising their right to observe and document police activity.