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NY Mayor Eric Adams says only citizens with upgraded iPhones to film at a distance should document police

Courts have argued documenting police action is protected by the First Amendment.

New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams said filming the police from a close distance “is not acceptable, and won’t be tolerated.”

At an event at the New York City Police Academy, where he announced the reintroduction of the anti-gun unit, Adams was asked about his stance on civilians who want to “document what’s going on.”

The topic has been the subject of many First Amendment lawsuits in various states, the argument being that documenting police is a constitutional right that the police can’t suppress. This argument has been supported by multiple courts.

The mayor responded: “That is one thing that we are going to do: We are going to teach the public how to properly document…If an officer is trying to prevent a dispute from taking place and de-escalate that dispute, they should [not] have someone standing over their shoulders with a camera in their face, yelling and screaming at them, without even realizing what the encounter is all about. There’s a proper way to police, and there’s a proper way to document.”

He added: “If your iPhone can’t catch that picture with you being at a safe distance, then you need to upgrade your iPhone.”

Adams did somewhat acknowledge that people have the right to film the police, saying “You can safely document an incident, and we can use that footage to analyze what happened.”

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