New York City

New Law Affirms New Yorkers' Right to Record Police Activity

Tens of thousands of protesters returned to New York City streets in a third weekend of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd

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What to Know

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the latest in a series police reform bills affirming individuals the right to record police activity
  • The law also grants individuals the right to main custody of the recording they make of police; it takes effect in 30 days
  • Thousands of protesters marched for a third weekend following the death of George Floyd

New Yorkers now have the right to record law enforcement activity after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill passed by state legislators last week.

The New Yorker's Right to Monitor Act passed the state Senate and Assembly earlier this week; it takes effect in 30 days. The law also grants individuals the right to main custody of the recording they make of police.

"The right to record act will ensure protection for people who record misconduct by police. The senseless murder of George Floyd is a stark example of why transparency is needed," said State Senator Kevin Park, sponsor of the bill.

The new law is the latest in a series pushed through the state legislature last week in the wake of nationwide protest and demands for police accountability following the death of George Floyd.

On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a series of bills that repeal 50-a, ban chokeholds by law enforcement officers, prohibit false race-biased 911 reports and designate an independent prosecutor to investigate the civilian deaths in police custody.

Following his signing of the state legislature's police reform package on Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on protesters to end their demonstrations.

"You don't need to protest, you won," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday. "You accomplished your goal. Society says you're right, the police need systemic reform."

The governor says protesters have succeeded in changing public sentiment and have the attention of lawmakers. The second step, he says, is defining what kind of reform they want.

"Let's sit down at a table, with the local government with the police with the other stakeholders. How do we design the local police department?" Cuomo said. "What do you want the police to be in New York City? Let's design it."

The NYS Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative, signed by the governor, gives the 500 municipalities in New York nine months to propose and enact police reform or the state will withhold funding. The plans must address force by police officers, crowd management, community policing, implicit bias awareness training, de-escalation training and practices, restorative justice practices, and community-based outreach.

The promise of police reforms has not slowed down the New York City crowds that draw hundreds, often thousands in support of increased police accountability. Protests continued for a third weekend as activists keep their focus on changing anti-racist attitudes and policy that disproportionately impact Black people.

Dozens of protests, rallies and marches were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday; the majority planned in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

On Sunday, thousands of supporters dressed in white congregated outside the Brooklyn Museum Sunday to call attention to the plight of Black trans lives, including the death of trans woman Layleen Polanco.

Theres now a push to perserve all the Black Lives Matter posters to commemorate this moment in history, Erica Byfield reports.

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