Judge blocks release of NYPD body cam video for now

Body camera video showing New York City police officers in a deadly confrontation with a Bronx man was released in September 2017. The incident was the first officer-involved fatal shooting recorded by police body cameras since the NYPD started using the devices in April 2017.

Now the courts are scrutinizing the releasing of videos like this one and others. Monday, a New York State appellate judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the NYPD from releasing officers' body camera videos to the public.

This is a temporary victory for the union that represents rank-and-file cops. The PBA sued the city to prevent any police body camera video from ever being made public. The PBA lost the case in a lower court and appealed.

"Each time the NYPD illegally and arbitrarily releases body-worn camera footage, they are harming police officers' safety," PBA President Pat Lynch said in a statement.

Bobby Hodgson of the New York City Civil Liberties Union said the PBA is on the wrong side of this issue.

"Body cam footage is essential to greater police accountability and transparency—that was one of the main purposes for the body-worn camera program," Hodgson said. "Obviously to increase public trust, to increase transparency, to increase public awareness about what's going on."

A lawyer for the city said in a statement that she was "disappointed with this interim ruling" and that the body-worn cameras are all about transparency.

The higher court is expected to rule on this issue by the end of the year.