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a. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
Officer. The term “officer” means any peace officer or police officer as defined in the criminal procedure law who is employed by the city of New York, or any special patrolman appointed by the police commissioner pursuant to section 14-106.
Police activities. The term “police activities” means any activity of an officer acting under the color of law.
Record. The term “record” means to capture or attempt to capture any moving or still image, sound, or impression through the use of any recording device, camera, or any other device capable of capturing audio, moving or still images, or by way of written notes or observations.
b. Right to record police activities. A person may record police activities and maintain custody and control of any such recording and of any property or instruments used in such recording. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit a person to engage in actions that physically interfere with an official and lawful police function, or to prevent the seizure of any property or instruments used in a recording of police activities where the seizure is otherwise authorized by law, or to prohibit any officer from enforcing any other provision of law.
c. Private right of action.
1. A claim of unlawful interference with recording police activities is established under this section when an individual demonstrates that he or she recorded or attempted to record police activities in accordance with subdivision b and an officer interfered with such person’s recording of police activities. Such interference includes but is not limited to the following actions:
(a) preventing or attempting to prevent the recording of police activities;
(b) threatening or making any effort to intimidate a person recording police activities;
(c) stopping, seizing, searching, issuing any summons, or arresting any individual because such individual recorded police activities; or
(d) seizing property or instruments used by any individual to record police activities.
2. It shall be an affirmative defense that (i) a reasonable officer in the position of such officer would have had probable cause to believe that the person recording police activities physically interfered with an official and lawful police function, or that such officer’s actions were otherwise authorized by law or (ii) such officer did not know, and a reasonable officer in the position of such officer would not know, that such person was recording or attempting to record police activities.
3. A person subject to unlawful interference with recording police activities as described in subdivision b of this section may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for any damages, including punitive damages, and for declaratory and injunctive relief and such other remedies as may be appropriate.
4. In any action or proceeding to enforce this section, the court shall allow a prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorney's fees as part of the costs, and may include expert fees as part of the attorney's fees.
5. Any action or proceeding to enforce this section shall be commenced no later than one year and 90 days after the date on which the violation of this section is committed.
d. Preservation of rights. This section shall be in addition to all rights, procedures, and remedies available under the United States constitution, section 1983 of title 42 of the United States code, the constitution of the state of New York and all other federal laws, state laws, laws of the city of New York including the administrative code, and all pre-existing civil remedies, including monetary damages, created by statute, ordinance, regulation or common law.
e. Reporting. The commissioner shall submit to the speaker of the council, the public advocate and the mayor, and post on the department’s website, within 20 days after the beginning of the quarter that commences on January 1, 2021 and each quarter thereafter, a report containing the following information for the previous quarter: the number of arrests, criminal summonses, and civil summonses in which the person arrested or summonsed was recording police activities as defined in subdivision a of this section. Such report shall include this information in total and disaggregated by the following factors: the patrol precinct in which such arrest or summons occurred, the offense charged, and the apparent race, ethnicity, gender, and age of the person arrested or summonsed. The information to be reported pursuant to this section shall be compared with previous reporting periods, shall be permanently stored on the department’s website, and shall be stored in alphanumeric form that can be digitally transmitted or processed and not in portable document format or scanned copies of original documents.
(L.L. 2020/067, 7/15/2020, eff. 8/14/2020)