Mayor Eric Adams has praised a choice by a Harlem NYPD precinct commander to have a police officer document video of concertgoers leaving a Drake efficiency on the Apollo Theater on Saturday, calling the concept a “creative” manner of partaking with the neighborhood.
The incident, which was tweeted by a New York Occasions music critic, prompted sharp criticism of what some stated amounted to racist surveillance by the NYPD at a live performance which drew a big viewers of shade. The NYPD, which stated the content material was getting used for social media, has been routinely criticized for controversial surveillance practices it has adopted since 9/11.
Drake, who is taken into account one of the largest rap artists in the business, delivered what was later described as an “intimate” efficiency of his best hits on the iconic theater.
Throughout an unrelated information convention in the Bronx on Monday, Adams dismissed the considerations as coming from a small minority on Twitter that don’t mirror “everyday New Yorkers.”
“Thumbs up to that great captain,” Adams stated of Captain Tarik Sheppard, who heads the twenty eighth Precinct.
The mayor went on to “commend” Sheppard for taking video of concertgoers.
“And I encourage all of my commanding officers to be creative on how we engage with our residents,” he stated, including, “That was a safe event.”
Following questions in regards to the video recording, an NYPD spokesperson stated the footage of concertgoers would solely be used to advertise neighborhood occasions on social media.
“The officer depicted in the video is a Community Affairs officer involved with the 28th Precinct’s social media team,” learn a press release. “The officer was taking video for an upcoming twitter post that will highlight local community events. The video will not be utilized for any other reason.”
Critics, nonetheless, expressed considerations that the footage might be used for facial recognition expertise, which is authorized in New York. The NYPD has traditionally operated a “rap unit” to observe hip hop performances.
“The NYPD’s use of a video recording device on hip hop fans at a historic institution of Black performance in Harlem is highly concerning,” stated Will Owen, of the Surveillance Expertise Oversight Mission, an anti-surveillance and privateness rights group.
“This is yet another example of NYPD’s racist use of surveillance technology, following the department’s long legacy of targeting rap concerts. We’re deeply concerned facial recognition may have been involved, and demand the department destroy any footage it took. This is the latest proof that the city and state must ban its use at venues once and for all.”
Most lately, the group has joined lawmakers to demand that Madison Sq. Backyard cease utilizing facial recognition to ban sure attorneys who characterize companies suing the group.
Adams has been a supporter of utilizing facial recognition in addition to different expertise in policing. “We will use every available method to keep our people safe,” he stated final 12 months.
Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia College legislation professor who’s an professional on policing, was amongst those that have been skeptical that recording concertgoers promoted a sense of security.
“I doubt anyone there felt safer because the NYPD was creating a digital record of their time at the Apollo to hear a Black music artist,” he stated. “Did the NYPD think a riot was going to break out there?”
Adams, nonetheless, argued that almost all New Yorkers welcomed the presence of police in their communities.
“Those who are naysayers find reasons to complain about everything,” he stated. “That’s not reality. Let them keep complaining.”