New York City Council Header
File #: Int 0721-2018    Version: * Name: Respecting the right to record police activities.
Type: Introduction Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Public Safety
On agenda: 3/7/2018
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to respecting the right to record police activities
Sponsors: The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams), Helen K. Rosenthal, Alicka Ampry-Samuel , Antonio Reynoso, Carlina Rivera , Ben Kallos, Brad S. Lander, Bill Perkins, Carlos Menchaca, Rory I. Lancman, Margaret S. Chin, Donovan J. Richards, Adrienne E. Adams, Deborah L. Rose, James G. Van Bramer
Council Member Sponsors: 14
Summary: This bill would codify a person’s right to record New York City police officers or peace officer acting in their official capacity, with limited exceptions. The bill also allows any individual whose rights are violated to sue the City in state court, and requires reporting related to filming police activities.
Attachments: 1. Summary of Int. No. 721, 2. Int. No. 721, 3. March 7, 2018 - Stated Meeting Agenda
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
3/7/2018*The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams) City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/7/2018*The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams) City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available

Int. No. 721

By the Public Advocate (Mr. Williams) and Council Members Rosenthal, Ampry-Samuel, Reynoso, Rivera, Kallos, Lander, Perkins, Menchaca, Lancman, Chin, Richards, Adams, Rose and Van Bramer


A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to respecting the right to record police activities


Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

Section 1. Title 10 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new Chapter 9 to read as follows:

Chapter 9

The Right To Record Police Activities

§ 10-901 Definitions.

§ 10-902 Right to record police activities.

§ 10-903 Private right of action.

§ 10-904 Preservation of rights.

§ 10-905 Reporting.

§ 10-901 Definitions. For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:

Officer. The term “officer” means any peace officer or police officer as defined in the criminal procedure law who is employed by the city of New York, or any special patrolman appointed by the police commissioner pursuant to section 14-106 of the administrative code.

Police activities. The term “police activities” means any activity by an officer acting under the color of law.

Record. The term “record” means to capture or attempt to capture any moving or still image, sound, or impression through the use of any recording device, camera, or any other device capable of capturing audio, moving or still images, or by way of written notes or observations.

§ 10-902 Right to record police activities. A person may record police activities and maintain custody and control of any such recording and of any property or instruments used in such recording. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit a person to engage in actions that physically interfere with an official and lawful police function, or to prevent the seizure of any property or instruments used in a recording of police activities otherwise authorized by law, or to prohibit any officer from enforcing any other provision of law.

§ 10-903 Private Right of Action.

a. A claim of unlawful interference with recording police activities is established under this chapter when an individual demonstrates that he or she recorded or attempted to record police activities in accordance with section 10-902 and an officer interfered with that person’s recording of police activities. Such interference includes but is not limited to the following actions:

1. preventing or attempting to prevent the recording of police activities;

2. threatening or making any effort to intimidate a person recording police activities;

3. stopping, seizing, searching, issuing any summons, or arresting any individual because such individual recorded police activities; or

4. seizing property or instruments used by any individual to record police activities.

b. It shall be an affirmative defense that a reasonable officer in the position of such officer would have had probable cause to believe that the person recording police activities physically interfered with an official and lawful police function, or that such officer’s actions were otherwise authorized by law.

c. A person subject to unlawful interference with recording police activities as described in subdivision a of this section may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for any damages, including punitive damages, and for declaratory and injunctive relief and such other remedies as may be appropriate.

d. In any action or proceeding to enforce this section, the court may allow a prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorney's fees as part of the costs, and may include expert fees as part of the attorney's fees.

e. Any action or proceeding to enforce this section shall be commenced no later than one year and 90 days after the date on which the violation of this section is committed.

§ 10-904 Preservation of rights. This section shall be in addition to all rights, procedures, and remedies available under the United States Constitution, Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code, the Constitution of the State of New York and all other federal law, state law, law of the City of New York or the New York City Administrative Code, and all pre-existing civil remedies, including monetary damages, created by statute, ordinance, regulation or common law.

§ 10-905 Reporting. The commissioner shall submit to the council and the mayor, and post to the department’s website, within 20 days of the beginning of each quarter, a report containing the following information for the previous quarter: the number of arrests, criminal summonses, and civil summonses in which the person arrested or summonsed was recording police activities as defined in section 10-901. Such report shall include this information in total and disaggregated by the following factors: the patrol precinct in which such arrest or summons occurred, the offense charged, and the apparent race, ethnicity, gender, and age of the person arrested or summonsed. The information to be reported pursuant to this section shall be compared to previous reporting periods, shall be permanently stored on the department’s website, and shall be stored in alphanumeric form that can be digitally transmitted or processed and not in portable document format or scanned copies of original documents.

§ 2. Severability. If any provision of this bill or any other provision of this local law, or any amendments thereto, shall be held invalid or ineffective in whole or in part or inapplicable to any person or situation, such holding shall not affect, impair or invalidate any portion of or the remainder of this local law, and all other provisions thereof shall nevertheless be separately and fully effective and the application of any such provision to other persons or situations shall not be affected.

§ 3.  This local law takes effect 30 days after it becomes law, provided that the first quarterly report pursuant to section 10-905 is due within 20 days of the quarter beginning January 1, 2019.

LS 2383.1/Int. 1235-2016

LS # 385