A police union said Wednesday it will fight an appellate court decision requiring the NYPD to turn over police bodycam footage.
The Police Benevolent Association announced it “began the appeals process today” to fight the Feb. 19 Appellate Division-First Department’s decision to uphold a lower court’s ruling that edited versions of the footage could be released to the public without a court hearing.
The union’s president, Patrick Lynch, said, “A judge, whose primary interest should be the ends of justice, should decide if releasing specific video supports or defeats those ends.
“We have to keep the decisions to randomly release [body worn camera] video out of the hands of politicians and their appointees.”
The PBA says it wants the appellate court to reconsider its initial order and if it doesn’t rule in its favor it wants permission to bring the case before the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals.
The police union sued Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD last year alleging that they were breaking Civil Rights Law 50-A by releasing the footage without obtaining court orders because the videos fall under the officer personnel records category, which is exempt from disclosure.
“We are confident the Court will continue to uphold the City’s position,” a rep for the City Law Department said. “The main purpose of the Body Worn Camera program is to increase transparency to the public about police encounters and help strengthen public trust in the police.”