A bill that affirms the ability of a citizen to record police activity was signed into law on Sunday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The legislation was part of a package of measures meant to reform policing policy in New York that was approved earlier this month by state lawmakers in response to widespread demonstrations against police brutality.
"Transparency is critical to renewing the community's trust and confidence in our policing systems," Cuomo said in a statement. "Stopping police abuse vindicates the overwhelming majority - 99.9 percent - of police who are there to do the right thing, and by making clear that all New Yorkers have the right to record and keep recordings of police activity we can help restore trust in the police-community relationship."
The bill affirms the right to record law enforcement, keep any recording made and the instrument -- often a cellphone -- used to make the recording.
The measure is meant to end any "confusion" surrounding the right to record police officers and prevent confiscation of recordings.
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant. The Right to Record Act will ensure protection for people who record misconduct by police," said state Senator Kevin Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat. "The senseless murder of George Floyd is a stark example of why transparency is needed. I appreciate Governor Cuomo recognizing the critical nature of this bill and signing it into law. "
Video recordings have led to a greater exposure of police brutality cases. The final moments of George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer pinned him with his knee at the neck for more than 8 minutes, were recorded using a cellphone camera, which was subsequently seen across the world on social media.
Floyd's killing set of weeks of protests, demonstrations and civil unrest in cities across the country.
"There should be no cover, and no comfort for wrongful behavior in any police department, and as free Americans and New York citizens, we have always been informed and aware that we have the right and freedom to monitor and record acts of misconduct by bad apples in our police departments," said Assemblyman Nick Perry. "We are grateful for the Governor's bold and positive leadership against relentless resistance from those behind the blue wall of silence. This new law makes it clear and unquestionable that as New Yorkers we are claiming and will exercise this right to protect us from the dishonorable actors who hide behind the badge, while abusing the awesome powers we afford them as police officers."