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January 10, 2018

Police union files suit over release of body camera footage

By COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

NEW YORK — A union representing New York City police officers sued the department Tuesday, saying its release of body camera footage without a court order violates a state law that makes officer disciplinary records confidential.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents about 24,000 uniformed officers, said the public release of footage, which began last summer on a limited basis, also violates the privacy of everyday citizens caught on camera.

‘‘This conduct disregards not only the clear prohibitions, but also the very serious safety, privacy, due process, and other interests’’ of everyone seen in such videos, said the lawsuit, filed in a state court in Manhattan.

The city’s law department said it is reviewing the complaint.

‘‘The mayor and the police commissioner have spoken to the need for increasing transparency into the way our city is policed,” said Austin Finan, a spokesman for the mayor.

“The release of body camera footage, when possible, is an important extension of that commitment,’’ Finan added.