July 31, 2008 / 9:57 PM / 11 years ago

NYPD calls on citizens for amateur video evidence

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Yorkers can soon take a bite out of city crime by uploading video or photo evidence directly to the New York Police Department, in a move welcomed on Thursday by civil rights groups.

“We’re putting that technology in place to enable us to do that,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, adding that the service will be available soon.

“It’s a fact of life,” Kelly said. “Everybody has a camera in their telephones. When people can record an event taking place that helps us during an investigation, it’s helpful.”

Soon citizen sleuths can transmit evidence of criminal activity directly to the police and 911, including evidence of police misconduct, such as the recent video of a police officer shoving a bicyclist to the ground in Times Square.

The video of the incident has received over one million views on YouTube and has generated online discussion about police brutality and abuse of power.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union said, “I think that while it’s appropriate for the police department to invite video reports of wrong doing both by ordinary people and police officers, the New York Police Department has a long way to go to ensure that police officers who engage in wrongdoing like what was captured in the two video tapes that were recently disclosed are held accountable.”

Editing by Sandra Maler

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