Regulations on police interactions with civilians pass State Assembly

NY Capitol News

Philadelphia police and Pennsylvania National Guard take a knee outside Philadelphia Police headquarters. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Hot on the heels of advancing the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act through the legislature, the New York State Assembly is working to enact two more acts to regulate how law enforcement interacts with the public.

Both acts have yet to pass in the Senate.

“Too often, incidents of brutality and excessive force do not come to light unless they are caught on camera.”

Speaker Carl E. Heastie

One act, A.4615-A, prohibits police from racial profiling. Another, A.1360-A, enshrines the public right to record a police officer.

A statement from the Assembly says the practice of racial or ethnic profiling “has had a corrosive effect on the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities.” The Assembly has passed this legislation nine times since 2003.

“This legislation will help ease the tensions between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and will promote law enforcement integrity and community support.”

Rodneyse Bichotte
New York State ASSEMBLY
Chair, Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

In order to prevent police officers or agencies from racial or ethnic profile, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte’s A.4615-A creates requirements for law enforcement:

  • Create and adhere to anti-profiling policies
  • Create procedures for reviewing complaints of profiling
  • Annually submit a database recording all civilian interactions to the state

The Division of Criminal Justice Services would make then make that database public, along with an annual report on law enforcement stops. The bill also allows for legal action—in the form of monetary damages or court-ordered injunctions—against law enforcement for any victims of racial profiling.

The other act, the Right to Monitor Act—from Assemblymember N. Nick Perry—is specific and concise in its goals:

“The purpose of this legislation is to unambiguously affirm, by statutory enactment, the right of New Yorkers to record, with expressed exceptions, the actions of persons acting under the color of law.”

A.1360-A

The act promotes accountability, as it means to conteract misinformation about whether a bystander is allowed to document and record police making arrests or otherwise performing their duties. Several courts have clearly and consistently found that the First Amendment protects the rights of ordinary civilians to record police activity.

The bill also protects the right to maintain custody and control of the recording—meaning the police cannot simply allow someone to record and then confiscate or destroy the camera or footage.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Live Doppler 9 Map Center

CNY View

CNY View

CNY View

Oswego Area

Oswego Area

Syracuse Area

Syracuse Area