September 14, 2017, New York – In response to the NYPD releasing the first-ever body camera footage of a fatal police shooting, of Miguel Richards in the Bronx on September 6, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
The tragic fatal shooting of Miguel Richards by NYPD officers in the Bronx last week and the release of that body camera footage today underscore the need for clear rules governing how and when the NYPD releases body camera footage.
As this case demonstrates, body cameras are not a panacea for police violence and are only as good as the policies dictating their use. While we acknowledge that the NYPD’s release of this footage is a positive first step, the department must make many more strides towards accountability and transparency. Neither the NYPD nor the Mayor’s Office has made clear under what circumstances they will share body camera footage; as of now, the police commissioner has full discretion to decide when and if it is released. There must be a public and transparent process to create clear rules that dictate how and when body camera footage is released in the future, and that process must be informed by input from those communities most impacted by police practices.
It is important to note that the police officers who shot Miguel Richards were only wearing body cameras because of the landmark settlement in our case Floyd vs. City of New York, representing thousands of Black and Latino New Yorkers who were stopped and frisked by the NYPD, and who fought to successfully overturn this violent, discriminatory practice. In continued partnership with communities organizing to stop police violence, we will keep fighting for accountability and transparency from the NYPD.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.