NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A10176
SPONSOR: Rules (Sepulveda)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to
videotaping uniformed personnel in the course of carrying out their
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
Provides an affirmative right to videotape uniformed personnel and
provides for the recovery of damages in the amount of $25,000 per
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1. Amends the civil rights law by adding a new section 79-o.
Establishes the right to videotape uniformed personnel when such person-
nel are carrying out their duties. Defines uniformed personnel as
police, firefighters, emergency technicians and paramedics. Provides
for the recovery of damages in the amount of $25,000 per violation.
Section 2. Effective Date
On Thursday, July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was accused of selling loose
cigarettes on a street in Staten Island. He was approached by the NYPD,
and as his encounter with the NYPD continued, he was suddenly and for no
apparent reason, placed in a chokehold, which has been banned by the
NYPD since 1993. Tragically, Mr. Garner died later at the hospital.
This event, from the time the police first approached Mr. Garner, up to
and including the chokehold and the arrival of the emergency medical
services, was captured on video by Ramsey Orta who taped the encounter
on his cell phone. If not for Mr.Orta's video, there would be no visual
record of this tragic event. The public would have limited information
as to what really transpired on that fateful day.
It should be noted that the right to videotape is already allowed, as
long as the person videotaping does not interfere with police activity.
However, because this right is routinely violated, this legislation is
needed. This bill strengthens and protects civilians' rights by affirma-
tively allowing a person to video tape uniformed personnel in the course
of their duties, as long as the person does not interfere with the
uniformed personnel from carrying out their duties. It also allows the
aggrieved person to sue for wrongful interference with videotaping
uniformed personnel in the course of their duties.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None to state.
STATE OF NEW YORK
August 20, 2014
Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES -- (at request of M. of A. Sepulveda)
-- read once and referred to the Committee on Governmental Operations
AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to videotaping
uniformed personnel in the course of carrying out their professional
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The civil rights law is amended by adding a new section
2 79-o to read as follows:
3 § 79-o. Right to videotape uniformed personnel. 1. Any person may
4 videotape uniformed personnel in the course of carrying out their
5 duties, as long as such person does not interfere with uniformed person-
6 nel from carrying out their duties.
7 2. "Uniformed personnel" as used in this section, shall mean police,
8 firefighters, emergency technicians and paramedics.
9 3. A person who is prevented or prohibited from videotaping, as
10 described in subdivision one of this section, by uniformed personnel,
11 may recover damages in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars per
13 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.