NYPD Acting Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Ann P. Prunty violated our civil rights last week. She said if we reveal the location of police enforcement on a public street we can go to jail.
Police pretend to want to inform the public of roadblocks. I call the pro forma announcements of roadblock locations “little blue lies.” They are designed to be useless.
Google called their bluff. Now Google Maps shows speed cameras, roadblocks, and other police activity. Ms. Prunty says that’s a crime. Or may be a crime, which is the same thing. Threats to prosecute people for speaking out are as illegal as actually prosecuting people for speaking out. The threat has a “chilling effect” on free speech.
NYPD might have overlooked speed camera warnings (police don’t run the cameras) but the roadblocks caught their eye. And so the letter warned:
Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws.
Notwithstanding the mention of DWI, the threat applies equally to all traffic laws. Speeding is a crime in New York. Revealing a speed trap is as illegal as revealing a roadblock.
Which is to say, it is not illegal at all. Police have countless court rulings saying you have no privacy right driving on a public street. They can’t charge you for turning the tables and talking about what you see them doing in public.
Federal courts have granted injunctions protecting people who record police activity. If you can post a video of a roadblock to social media, you can post a location without video.
They can’t threaten to lock you up for exercising your free speech rights. Trying to do so is a violation of civil rights. New York police have a history of civil rights violations. Haven’t we had enought?
I am calling on the Mayor, Governor, and federal prosecutors to terminate Ms. Prunty’s employment and civil rights.
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