The NYPD continues to surveil peaceful protesters in violation of the First Amendment
- New York 05/17/2016 by Linda Perry (WBAI News)
The NYPD videoed peaceful protesters who were holding signs and chanting slogans over the weekend at an animal rights protest at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
WBAI's Mitchel Cohen was at the protest. He spoke with the officer who insisted he had the right to film protesters, even though this is in violation of the First Amendment and the Handshu Decree. Then Cohen went to see noted civil rights attorney Norman Siegel for his response.
Siegel told Cohen the police officer lacked knowledge and understanding of the law. He said this may reflect a far-reaching problem inside the NYPD about providing accurate information to local cops about the law and respecting the rights of peaceful protesters.
"It raises the serious question of: what kind of training is the police department giving to officers? Because if this officer was the only officer who didn't understand the Handschu agreement and the importance of first amendment peaceful protest, how many other officers similarly don't understand what Handschu is about?...and what the first amendment is about? And therefore, I think it's appropriate for the Police Commissioner and the leadership of the New York police department and the Mayor to look into what training is being given to officers, new as well as veteran officers, with regard to the enforcement of the Handschu agreement; and generally, to make sure that people understand in the police department that people have a first amendment right to peaceful protest without being videoed."
Norman Siegel will be filing a complaint on behalf of Cohen and WBAI Radio with the NYPD and the Mayor's office. Please click the arrow above for our full report.