Manhattan: Your editorial “Body cam blackout” (May 15) got it wrong. Neither the appellate judge’s ruling nor the existing law governing the release of body-cam footage would “bury the videos forever.” Instead, they will force the NYPD and City Hall to follow a clear process before releasing the videos, one that protects the rights of everybody involved. The current law allows a judge to release videos after hearing from and considering the rights of all interested parties, including both police officers’ safety and the public’s undeniable right to privacy in many situations. Police video sometimes captures New Yorkers’ most embarrassing or painful moments — should they or their family be forced to relive those moments over and over?
The federal court ruling mandating the NYPD’s body-worn camera pilot program said nothing whatsoever about the public release of videos. But the NYPD and City Hall, in their rush to roll out the cameras ahead of the federal monitor’s study, have treated the program as a political and public relations tool, ignoring the law and arbitrarily releasing videos to suit their own ends. Nobody should feel comfortable with that approach, especially when a clear and fair process already exists in law.
Patrick J. Lynch, president, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Assoc.