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Following NYCLU Request To NYPD, City Council To Introduce Bill Requiring NYPD To Videotape Custodial Interrogations

City Council Deputy Majority Leader Bill Perkins today announced that he is introducing a bill in the City Council to require the New York City Police Department to videotape interrogations of criminal suspects in NYPD custody. The announcement follows a request last week by the NYCLU to NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly asking that the Department agree to such videotaping. The NYCLU’s request and Councilmember Perkins’s bill both are designed to curb coercive police interrogations that produce false confessions, as is alleged to have occurred in the Central Park Jogger case.

Councilmember Perkins announced his bill at a press conference at City Hall; the NYLCU appeared at the press conference in support of the bill. 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement and the Latino Officers Association also support the bill and appeared at the press conference.

In several highly-publicized cases in recent years law enforcement obtained confessions to serious crimes in New York after which it was established that the confessions were false or coerced. Indeed, invalid confessions are a national problem in law enforcement, and several jurisdictions have implemented or are studying programs for recording custodial interrogations.

NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said, “Coerced confessions wholly undermine the criminal-justice system and violate the constitutional rights of defendants. The videotaping of interrogations is a simple and straightforward way of dealing with this problem.”

NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn stated, “Videotaping will protect the accused from coercive interrogations and the Police Department from false claims of coercion. Everyone benefits from this reform.”

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