NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York appeals court has ruled the public is allowed to see footage from police body cameras.
The Appellate Division panel rejected an argument from the NYPD’s Police Benevolent Association (PBA) that body cam video is a personnel record and those records are kept secret according to state law.
Body camera video “is more akin to arrest or stop reports, and not records primarily generated for disciplinary and promotional purposes,” the court said.
NYPD commissioner James O’Neill said the court’s ruling is an important step towards increased transparency.
“We believe that the court’s decision is wrong, that it will have a negative impact on public safety and on the safety of our members. We are reviewing the decision and assessing our options for appeal,” PBA president Patrick Lynch said in a statement.
The court said the union raised valid concerns about officer safety and privacy, but that a broader interpretation of the law would mean things like arrest reports, summonses, and accident reports would be blocked from public view.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)