On June 14th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that affirms the right of individuals to record law enforcement activity, and to keep their recordings.
The new law goes into effect in 30 days. It is one of 10 recently introduced bills aimed at making it easier for the public to hold law enforcement accountable. Another bill, which Gov. Cuomo signed on June 12th, will make an officer’s records and misconduct complaints public.
In a statement on the state’s official website, Governor Cuomo expressed hope that the law, New Yorker’s Right to Monitor Act, would improve the public’s trust in law enforcement.
“Transparency is critical to renewing the community’s trust and confidence in our policing systems,” Cuomo said. “Stopping police abuse vindicates the overwhelming majority – 99.9 percent – of police who are there to do the right thing, and by making clear that all New Yorkers have the right to record and keep recordings of police activity, we can help restore trust in the police-community relationship.”
While six circuit courts have found that the First Amendment protects the right of ordinary civilians to record the police as they perform their official duties, the matter has not yet been decided by the Supreme Court.