Council member Jumaane Williams Says PBA and Pat Lynch "Lost Credibility" over Bid to Block Body-camera video

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Patrick Lynch. Photo: NYCpba.org

After the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan --announced by PBA President Patrick Lynch-- claiming the release of footage from police bodycams after incidents was unlawful, New York City Council member Jumaane Williams released a statement.

Over the past several years, we as a city have made significant improvements in policing. There are two areas in which we have not advanced; accountability, where we have not improved, and transparency, where we have gone backwards.

Releasing body camera footage is one of the only ways that the public is able to hold the NYPD accountable, and the PBA is seeking to strip away this tool, one which even the NYPD has agreed is beneficial, out of sheer self interest rather than public good.

The PBA has lost credibility on these issues over years of railing against the very measures that have ultimately improved policing, police-community relations, and helped lead to a reduction of crime in New York City.

This is just another example of an issue where they ignore evidence and the public benefit in favor of self-preservation. I would welcome the opportunity for the PBA to come to the table for productive conversations, which could lead to solutions for the mutual benefit of officers and the public. Instead, they choose to push their usual, unfounded message of catastrophe.

Just one allegation by the PBA rings true- at present, the release of body camera footage is "inconsistent" and "arbitrary.'" However, the clear solution to this imbalance is not greater secrecy, but increased transparency and public policy.

Accountability, and the public trust to which it is inextricably linked, is ultimately the clearest path forward for a police force that effectively serves and protects the public.

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