Police unions are responding to NY1’s exclusive story on controversial federal judge Shira Scheindlin saying they’re the reason NYPD officers are not wearing body cameras, with some saying the judge doesn’t know policing. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Last year, when federal judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that New York City police officers should be equipped with body cameras, it required participation from all stakeholders. That includes representatives of police organizations.
However, the police unions are continuing to appeal the order, saying they need to make sure their officers are protected.
“It’s not that we’re disputing the use of the cameras as much as we need to intervene in the processes and the procedures that take place,” said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.
NY1 was the first to report that Judge Scheindlin, in front of an audience of lawyers and judges in the Bronx, blasted the unions for their appeal. She said had they not resisted, the cameras would have been in use in the 120th Precinct on Staten Island when Eric Garner died in police custody, and the cameras could have prevented his death.
The unions say the judge doesn’t know policing.
“We’re talking about an incident that was on videotape,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “Either way, those police officers were sent to that location because there was [sic] crimes being committed and they affected a legal arrest. Unfortunately, Mr. Garner decided to resist arrest.
“Judge Scheindlin is a disgruntled judge. I think that her removal of the case that she was on with stop-and-frisk,” said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. “And I think she’s probably just an angry judge.”
The president of the Bronx Bar Association praised the judge.
Scheindlin said cameras will eventually be in every police department, helping to cut down on what she calls unconstitutional stops of blacks and Latinos.
“More familiarity with behavior that is perceived to be suspicious but is, in fact, entirely innocent might help to defeat negative racial stereotyping,” she said.
Several elected officials and community groups held a rally urging the unions to accept the judge’s ruling.
The city and the New York City Police Department back the police camera program, so it may be an uphill battle for the unions. All sides are scheduled to be back in court next month to discuss the issue.