Presenting To The National Disability Justice Community on Our Landmark Bodycam DecisionSeptember 24, 2019
In the ruling, the New York State Supreme Court ordered the New York Police Department to turn over unredacted body-worn camera footage in the fatal police shooting of an individual with disabilities, within 30 days.
NYPD released heavily-edited footage to the public after they shot foreign exchange student Miguel Richards 16 times in September 2017, following a 15-minute confrontation in which Mr. Richards stood silent and motionless, holding a knife in one hand, and what turned out to be a toy gun in the other.
The video showed the police did little to de-escalate their confrontation with Mr. Richards, who was experiencing a mental health crisis. Instead, they yelled repeatedly that “this isn’t going to end well”, that he was “seconds away from getting shot” and asking him, “do you want to die?”
It was the first fatal police shooting since the NYPD’s court-ordered pilot program for the cameras began five months earlier. The edited footage did not include footage from all of the officers’ body-worn cameras, nor did it include footage from the aftermath of the shooting.
The NYPD continued to withhold, blur, and mute more than half the body-worn camera footage of the shooting, despite repeated public records requests by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for the full footage.
The court ruled in NYLPI’s favor on June 13 and NYLPI filed another action on August 16 when the NYPD again refused to provide the public with the bodyworn camera footage of the police shooting and killing another individual experiencing a mental health crisis.
NARPA’s mission is to support people with psychiatric diagnoses to exercise their legal and human rights, with the goals of abolishing forced treatment and ensuring autonomy, dignity and choice.
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