In the wake of the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice along with a host of other young black men dying in police shootings, the NYPD is starting to experiment with police body cameras.
While some NYPD officers are taking part in this pilot program, it is important to remember your rights to document and report police misconduct as well. In New York, attorney Bonita Zelman has more than 35 years of experience representing victims of police misconduct.
Body cameras represent one of the best developments in the public’s right to demand transparency and accountability from those sworn to serve and protect them. In turn, police should fear less public anger, because they will have evidence to support their claims when they need to use force.
Officers will turn on their cameras when they conduct vehicle stops, when arresting someone, issuing a summons or in situations where an officer thinks force may be used. Recordings will then be sent to a single storage facility, where they will be kept for up to three years.
Unfortunately, there have been many instances across the country of police officers turning their dashboard and body cameras off before using force. This brings up the fact that you can legally record police officers while they are doing their jobs.
In a case where Bonita Zelman is representing the family of a victim of deadly force at the hands of the NYPD, a witness was seen taping the incident. That person has yet to come forward with the video. If a police officer threatens you with arrest for recording, our office can provide you with the protection you need. You can come forward safely.
A lawyer who has garnered media attention for her work on behalf of victims and knowledge of police procedure and constitutional protections, Bonita Zelman will be your steadfast advocate. She can help if police are refusing to turn over video recordings.