More and more police departments across the country are using video cameras when they stop citizens on the street, and the federal judge in the stop-and-frisk trial may be eyeing that practice for city officers. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Should New York City police officers officers wear video cameras on their uniforms to record interactions with citizens? It's something that an expert spoke about during the stop-and-frisk trial, something that caught the attention of Judge Shira Scheindlin.
Lawyers representing people who say that the stop-and-frisk program profiles young black and Latino men said cameras are worth a try.
"Let's see if it works first before you adopt it department-wide," said Jonathan Moore, an attorney for the group suing the NYPD. "Try it out in a couple of precincts. Let's see what effect it has on stop-and-frisk."
Although the police department has thousands of cameras around the city to monitor suspicious activity, city lawyers and the NYPD spokesperson don't seem supportive of officers wearing cameras, especially since civil liberty groups often complain about big brother's unblinking eye.
"I just wonder how soon we would be sued in federal court on privacy issues if we were to follow that advice," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.
The company, Vievu, said it has supplied more than 3,000 police departments with body worn cameras. It's a device that officers turn on when they stop someone.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is representing people suing over stop-and-frisk. It said a pilot program could be monitored to see how effective the cameras might be.
"I think we do need to think about all of the pros and cons of it," said Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "It's an idea. It has some promise."
Retired NYPD Inspector Michael O'Neil is the president of MSA Security. He said if body cameras are used, it could protect officers against false claims of misconduct.
"I think it would shine a light on the great work the men and women in the New York City Police Department do every day. I think they do it, by and large, in a very professional manager." O'Neil said. "So if it is to be recorded, I think it would open up a window into how tough a police officer's job is."
It could also show if officers are breaking the law or need more training.
It remains to be seen if the judge will have anything to say about using cameras in her ruling.