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NYCLU: School Safety Officers Violated Journalist’s First Amendment Rights

Last night education journalist Lindsey Christ from NY 1 News reported that in two separate incidents on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, NYPD school safety officers interfered with her reporting on city schools and filming on city sidewalks. On Tuesday in Park Slope, a school safety officer reportedly confronted Christ as her news team was trying to interview a student across the street from a school and broke the lens guard off their camera, wrongly claiming that they could not film NYPD officers. On Wednesday in Murray Hill, school safety officers reportedly wrongly told the news team that they could not film on school property, and only backtracked after consulting the local precinct while many more officers arrived.

The New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement in response, attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“The lawless behavior of NYPD school safety officers who tried to stop journalist Lindsey Christ from videotaping outside New York City public schools this week is unacceptable. If this is how NYPD school safety officers treat a journalist with a video camera, we worry how they deal with students. The Police Department must respect First Amendment rights – that includes the right to take pictures and talk to students on public sidewalks outside schools. This is an unfortunate example of the NYPD’s failure to train its school safety officers to respect the law. The mayor has promised to end abuses by school safety officers – it’s time to make good on that promise.”

Read the NYCLU’s Letter to Commissioner Bratton: http://www.nyclu.org/files/2014_10_09_NYCLU_letter_to_Commissioner_Bratton.pdf

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