Body Worn Video Steering Group

New York City Cops forced to wear body worn cameras after judge’s ruling

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A federal judge has ordered a pilot program in which officers will wear body-worn cameras in an effort to make stop-and-frisk encounters more constitutional.

Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled in the case filed yesterday that New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy was unconstitutional and being carried out in a racially discriminatory manner.

Stop and frisk demonstration

“Because body-worn cameras are uniquely suited to addressing the constitutional harms at issue in this case, I am ordering the NYPD to institute a pilot project in which body worn cameras will be worn for a one-year period by officers on patrol in one precinct per borough — specifically the precinct with the highest number of stops during 2012.”

The idea came up inadvertently during testimony, but judge Scheindlin seized on it as a way to provide objective records of the stop-and-frisk encounters.

“The recordings should also alleviate some of the mistrust that has developed between the police and the black and Hispanic communities, based on the belief that stops and frisks are overwhelmingly and unjustifiably directed at members of these communities.”

“Video recordings will be equally helpful to members of the NYPD who are wrongly accused of inappropriate behavior.”

Judge Scheindlin also hinted that the US’s largest police department should be innovating the rest of the nation in applying technology to policing.

“It would have been preferable for this remedy to have originated with the NYPD, which has been a leader and innovator in the application of technology to policing.”

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