The Police Benevolent Association (PBA), New York City’s largest police union, claimed the footage from the cameras is considered personnel record and should be kept from the public, adding that an officer’s safety could be threatened and invade their privacy.
The panel of judges said the union’s concerns were "valid" but if it ruled in PBA’s favor, the police department would be less transparent. The court added that it’s “tasked with considering the record’s general nature and use, not solely whether it may be contemplated for use in a performance evaluation.”
NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill said he welcomes the court’s decision. “This ruling is an important step forward for transparency and affirms what the NYPD believes—not only is the public entitled to this information, but this footage overwhelmingly shows just how brave, skilled and dedicated our cops are every single day in the service of the people of New York City,” he told the Daily News in a statement.
The union said it plans to appeal the judge’s decision. “We believe that the court’s decision is wrong, that it will have a negative impact on public safety and on the safety or our members,” said PBA President Patrick Lynch.