The NYPD has sent out an internal memo that tells officers they aren’t allowed to take action to stop someone from photographing or filming them. This comes a whopping two years after Washington DC’s police chief sent out an almost identical memo.
According to the New York Daily News, the chief of department’s office sent out the memo to the various command centers across NYC on Wednesday. And the memo doesn’t mince words. Here’s a relevant section:
“Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment.”
However, while the cameras can keep snapping, this memo doesn’t give license to a free-for-all. As common sense would dictate, photographers and videographers are still prohibited from interfering with police operations.
This news should produce a sigh of relief for the many vigilant, camera-toting citizens that call NYC home. Of course, this isn’t going to solve all the issues — it seems some less professional officers will say just about anything to get you to stop taking pictures — but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.