Mayor Eric Adams applauded the NYPD’s Harlem district chief’s decision to have a police officer record video of concert-goers leaving Drake’s show at the Apollo Theater on Saturday, calling the idea a “creative” way to engage with the community.
The incident that was tweeted by a The New York Times A music critic, he drew sharp criticism of what some said amounted to racist surveillance by the NYPD at a concert that drew a large audience of people of color. The NYPD, which said the content was being used on social media, has routinely been criticized for the controversial surveillance practices it has adopted since 9/11.
Considered one of the biggest rap artists in the industry, Drake delivered what was later described as “intimate” performance One of his greatest works on the iconic stage.
During an unrelated press conference in the Bronx on Monday, Adams dismissed the concerns as coming from a small minority on Twitter that doesn’t reflect “everyday New Yorkers.”
“Thumbs up for that great captain,” Adams said of Capt. Tariq Sheppard, who heads the 28th Precinct.
The mayor went on to “commend” Sheppard for taking video of the concert-goers.
“And I encourage all officers to be creative in how we treat our residents,” he said, adding, “It was a safe event.”
After questions about the video recording, an NYPD spokesperson said the concert footage would only be used to promote community events on social media.
“The officer depicted in the video is a Community Affairs Officer with the 28th Precinct’s social media team,” a statement read. “The officer was recording a video for a Twitter post that would highlight events in the local community. The video will not be used for any other reason.”
However, critics have expressed concerns that the footage could use facial recognition technology, which is legal in New York. Historically the NYPD has been Runs the rap unit. To monitor hip hop performance.
“The NYPD’s use of a VCR on a hip-hop fan at a historic Black Performance Institution in Harlem is deeply troubling,” said Will Owen of the Surveillance Technology Watch Project, a privacy and surveillance rights group.
“This is yet another example of the NYPD’s racist use of surveillance technology, following the department’s long legacy of targeting rap parties. We are very concerned that facial recognition technology may be involved, and we ask management to destroy any footage you took. This is the latest evidence that the city and state should permanently ban its use in venues.”
Recently, the group joined with lawmakers to demand a stop to Madison Square Garden Using facial recognition to block some lawyers Representing companies suing the organization.
Adams was a proponent of the use of facial recognition as well as other technologies for policing. “We will use every means available to keep our people safe,” he said He said last year.
Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia University law professor and expert in policing, was among those who were skeptical that recording concerts promoted a sense of security.
“I doubt anyone felt safe that the NYPD was creating a digital record of their time at the Apollo hearing a black music artist,” he said. “Did the NYPD think there would be a riot there?”
However, Adams argued that most New Yorkers welcome a police presence in their communities.
“Those naysayers find reasons to complain about everything,” he said. “This is not a reality. Let them keep complaining.”