Increased public scrutiny of American policing — through cellphone videos, social media and mass protests — has revealed in recent weeks an urgent need for sustained and systemic reform. The New York Police Department has chosen to respond by pressing ahead with new rules to grant wider latitude to bar journalists from covering official police activity.
The department’s proposed regulations would add new reasons to revoke reporters’ credentials that allow them past police lines. In a news release Wednesday, the department outlined a litany of offenses that can cost reporters their credentials, including being arrested, being perceived not to be complying with police orders or conduct that “interferes with legitimate law enforcement needs.”
It’s little surprise, then, that the rules quickly drew ire from other New York officials.
“Let’s revoke the NYPD’s ability to issue press credentials entirely. They’ve repeatedly proven that they are unwilling and unable to oversee a legitimate process,” Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, tweeted. Keith Powers, a City Council member, tweeted that he was considering legislation that would move credentialing to a new agency.
It’s time to consider more seriously the comptroller’s proposal. Revoking credentials “goes against everything we believe in,” said Mr. Stringer in an interview. “We should always side with the free press — it’s all we’ve got.”