It would stand to reason that public meetings are legal to record, under the logic that since anyone is free to attend them, anyone should also be free to view them. Such was apparently not the case at the 67th Precinct Community Council meeting on May 16th, during a which an attendee was told by a Community Affairs Officer that he could not record the proceedings.
The video depicts Diop Olugbala, President of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, attempting to serve the council a subpoena to appear at the "Court for Black Justice and Reparations" (read more about that here).
Following Olugbala's reading of charges, which include the shooting of Kimani Gray and excessive use of stop-and-frisk, a uniformed Community Affairs officer approached the cameraman (at 3:36) and said "You can't record in here."
"I can't record?" the cameraman responds, and seconds later the video ends.
Jennifer Carnig, communications director at the New York Civil Liberties Union, said that curtailing filming of the meeting was a violation of the cameraman's rights.
"People have a right to document government activity—take notes, make an audio recording, video tape a public meeting," she said. "In this case, it appears that the person is exercising his right to record and it is only when the meeting gets heated that the person making the video is told to stop recording. That kind of censorship is clearly out of bounds."
A Community Affairs officer with the 67th Precinct—who declined to give her name—insisted that neither she nor her partner stopped anyone from recording at the meeting. "We’ve never asked anyone to turn off anything," she said. Asked the identification of the officer in the video, clad in a royal blue Community Affairs shirt, the officer said she didn't know.