In a memo handed down to New York City Police precincts on Wednesday, the Chief of Department, Philip Banks, reminded his staff that photographers do indeed have the right to photograph on duty police officers. This comes two long years after the Washington DC police force issued a strikingly similar notice to its officers. It also follows the tragic death of a Staten Island man that was killed after being placed in a chokehold by a member of the NYPD. The memo instructs police officers to not interfere or interrupt photographers unless the are explicitly interfering with operations being performed by the officers.
“Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment.”