Judge Analisa Torres of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has ordered the New York Police Department (NYPD) to create a "pilot program" to record all police interactions. The NYPD says this is "neither practical nor feasible."
Torres' decision stems from lawsuits over the department's controversial stop-and-frisk policy. In 2013, Torres was assigned to Floyd v. City of New York, a case that challenged the practice on the grounds that it was being used in a racially discriminatory fashion. A few months prior to the case, another federal judged ruled the practice unconstitutional.
As Torres wrote in 2015, the court wants to bring "the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies and practices into compliance with federal and state law." To that end, Torres has ordered both the NYPD and those who have brought suit over the practices to design a "pilot program" that would record "low-level" police interactions, referred to as "Level 1 and 2 investigative encounters."
The program's design would need to be completed by September 2018. Body cameras have already begun to be issued throughout the department in response to the legal action against the department, though they are typically used in Level 3 and Level 4 encounters—this includes the interactions that are likely to end in an arrest.
The suggestion originates from a "facilitator" appointed by the court. According to the New York Post, the facilitator has said recording lower-level interactions would highlight "the extent to which police are initiating [stop-and-frisk] encounters on the basis of race."
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