The judge wants police officers in the precincts with the most stop and frisks to wear body cameras. The South Jamaica section of Queens is one of the neighborhoods where that would happen, and NY1 borough reporter Ruschell Boone found out that several people there were receptive to the idea. She filed the following report.
Almost no one NY1 spoke with on 168th Street in the Jamaica section of Queens was surprised to hear that the precinct they live in, the 103rd, reported the most stop, question and frisks of all the precincts in the borough last year. The precinct covers a large section of Southeast Queens.
"This precinct is the worst," said one person. "They pick on people in the streets. They're the worst."
A New York City Police Department stop-and-frisk report showed there were nearly 13,000 stops here last year. If a federal judge's ruling is upheld, officers here would have to wear body cameras to record interactions with the public as part of a one-year pilot program. It would affect precincts with the most stop-and-frisks in the other four boroughs as well.
"I've been stopped a couple of times and I felt like it wasn't right, so, like, the ruling, I'm kind of happy for the ruling," said one person.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that with police officers controlling the cameras, there would be plenty of skeptics
"People questioning whether they deliberately chose an angle, whether they got the whole picture in," the mayor said. "It would be a nightmare."
Most of the people NY1 spoke with said the cameras could help police officers, not just people who are stopped.
"It's always been the police's word against the public's, so I think video keeps it fair," said one. "It gives everyone a level playing field, whether an officer wants to say that things didn't work out the way he's saying they worked out, or the average citizen is saying that they were unfairly treated or unjustly singled out. So I think it's a great situation.
Some people are not so sure. One person asked about the plan by NY1 responded, "Some of them maybe. Not all."
The judge said that a court-appointed monitor would ultimately determine whether the benefits of the cameras outweigh their financial, administrative and other costs, and whether the program should be terminated or expanded.