2005-02-24 NYPD Cameras Invade – CBS TV2

Did NYPD Cameras Invade A Couple’s Privacy?

Was It Appropriate Use Of Surveillance Equipment?


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CBS TV2 News

Feb 24, 2005 3:39 pm US/Eastern

NEW YORK (CBS) CBS 2 has obtained a videotape that the New York
City police department doesn’t want you to see. It shows cops on
surveillance just before last year’s Republican Convention in Manhattan.

But it is what they were checking out that is a little disturbing.

August 27, 2004, just before the Republican National convention a
police helicopter hovers over the East Village covering the Critical
Mass ecological protest supporting more bicycle use. Hundreds are
arrested. The police helicopter is equipped with an infra red camera
which records images by how much heat is given off, thereby enabling
police literally to see in complete darkness.

The police dutifully survey the area, but then they focus on a
couple in a passionate embrace kissing and fondling each other on a
roof top terrace.

The police infra scope stays on the scene for a while and then
pulls away, but then it comes back a second time to watch the couple
and then a third time.

However, it must be said that the couple is in complete darkness
only an infrared thermal detecting camera could see this scene. The
police scope then comes back to follow the woman and the warm
footprints of her bare feet.

CBS 2 tracked down and showed the video to the man in the embrace,
music company owner Jeff Rosner.

“I feel my privacy was invaded. We were on top floor nearest tall
building is 2 blocks away and I have trees,” says Rosner.

The woman in the police sights was too embarrassed to talk to
CBS 2.

“She was concerned we were caught in a more embarrassing moment,”
says Rosner.

CBS 2 also showed the tape to the National Lawyers Guild. One of
its members arrested during the Critical Mass demonstration obtained
the video for the criminal case against her.

Meanwhile, what does the New York City police department say about
the video? After mulling over its response for 24 hours and all CBS 2
got out of police headquarters was a no comment.

So we cannot answer if the police department considers this
appropriate use of high-tech equipment. We cannot answer if the police
helicopters will in the future try to videotape and save New Yorkers
making love on rooftops in complete darkness. They are hidden except
for the NYPD’s infra red scope in helicopters hovering 500 feet above.

Copyright 2005, CBS TV2

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