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Woman Claims NYPD Has Practice Of Arresting People For Recording Officers

Debra Goodman (center) alleged in a lawsuit that the NYPD has a practice of arresting people for videotaping officers. (Credit: CBS 2)

Debra Goodman (center) alleged in a lawsuit that the NYPD has a practice of arresting people for videotaping officers. (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD on Tuesday was hit with a First Amendment lawsuit, alleging the department has a practice of arresting people for shooting video of officers.

Plaintiff Debra Goodman claimed her rights were violated when she tried to record police activity last September on the Upper West Side.

Goodman was arrested at 73rd Street and Broadway, and alleged that she was pushed by officers and then detained for more than 24 hours.

“He asked me to produce ID. I refused, because I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Goodman said. “And then he grabbed my arm and handcuffed me, and told me I was under arrest.”

The lawsuit asked a judge to force the NYPD to allow onlookers to record police in public spaces.

CBS 2 contacted the NYPD about the lawsuit. The department has not issued a comment.

Previous lawsuits on the subject have reported that the NYPD Patrol Guide says officers cannot interfere with videotaping or photographing incidents in public.

In some jurisdictions in the country, videotaping police officers is, or has been, illegal.

In Illinois, for example, the practice was long banned unless all parties in a conversation consented to audio recordings of what was said, even in public spaces. Thus, someone who recorded a police officer, prosecutor or any other member of the law enforcement community without his or her permission could be charged with a Class 1 felony in Illinois.

A Cook County, Ill., judge ruled against the Eavesdropping Act in 2012, after Chicago artist Chris Drew was charged with videotaping his own arrest for selling art without a permit. Then last year, federal appeals court ruled that the law “likely violates” the First Amendment and banned enforcement of it.

Police interests in Illinois claimed that allowing the recording of officers would impede their investigative powers.

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