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Civil Rights Concerns Amid Police Treatment of Journalists Under Adams Administration

#EricAdams #NYPD #CivilRights #PoliceAccountability #JournalistsRights #NYCTaxpayers

Civil Rights Concerns Amid Police Treatment of Journalists Under Adams Administration.jpg

By Michael MH | | May 9, 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is increasingly under scrutiny due to the city's rising number of reported civil rights violations, primarily against minorities, journalists, and citizens. As a former police officer himself, critics suggest that Adams tends to favor the police's perspective when balancing civil liberties and law enforcement's need to maintain order. This sentiment is echoed in the police force's frequent response to civil rights violation allegations: "It's not my money." This lax attitude towards potential lawsuits has led to nearly $121,000,000 paid in NYPD judgments last year, with New York taxpayers footing the bill.[1][2]

In a recent incident, Chief of Patrol John Chell, one of NYPD's high-ranking members, was

caught on video ordering the arrest of photojournalist Stephanie Keith during a protest following the chokehold death of New York City subway rider, Jordan Neely. Neely's death is still under investigation, no charges will be considered until the medical examiner’s report is filed.

The video shows Chell shouting "lock her up," referring to Keith, amidst the protest. Keith, a seasoned freelance photographer whose work has appeared in well-known platforms including Getty Images and The New York Times, later found herself faced with a charge of disorderly conduct. Chell defended his actions, asserting that Keith interfered with several arrests during the protest. However, a review of the video evidence by The Associated Press did not support Chell's claim.[1][2] This discrepancy raises questions about the accuracy of Chell's arrest report and perhaps explains his aversion to police being filmed. While it remains uncertain whether Keith will pursue legal action, the NYPD's oft-quoted motto, "It's not my money," seems to reflect their indifferent attitude towards potential lawsuits.

Related Story: Veteran NYC photojournalist among roughly dozen arrested at Jordan Neely protest

The New York Press Photographers Association supported Keith, describing her as an "intrepid photojournalist" and expressing hope that "a review of the evidence and circumstances will compel the Manhattan D.A. to drop any charges against her."

Mayor Adams, a retired NYPD captain, continues to support the police force, albeit controversially. He recently urged New Yorker's to maintain a safe distance while filming police activity, arguing that confrontational behavior could exacerbate already dangerous situations.[3]

His comments received backlash from civil rights groups. New York Civil Liberties Union's (NY ACLU) executive director claimed Adam’s position on this topic lacked credibility as ordering citizens not to record any act indicates that they cannot record anything at all. Adams is sending a message to police officers that they have free rein to intimidate us from taking videos of them doing their jobs."[3]

Lieberman further emphasized the constitutional right to record in public and the importance

of maintaining police accountability. Despite her role as a civil rights leader, Lieberman confessed that she had been threatened with arrest twice for recording police activity.

As these situations keep coming to light, discussions around police responsibility, individual freedoms, and the part law enforcement plays in Mayor Adams' term are still hot-button topics among the people of New York City.

It's important to mention that Mayor Adams' current approval rating stands at less than 33% among New Yorker's. Adams campaigned with a focus on being tough on crime. However, this stance might need reassessment, as maintaining law and order should not involve infringing on the civil rights of New York citizens. While the financial ramifications of potential civil rights lawsuits do not directly affect the mayor, it raises questions about the fairness of burdening taxpayers due to a perceived disregard for civil liberties.

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