HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) — Twitter was thrown into a frenzy over the weekend after footage captured the NYPD taking video of people leaving a Drake concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, but the department insists it’s not what it looks like.
“It was a large event. Drake back at the Apollo! We want that. We want our police and community involved,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.
It was an epic weekend at the Apollo. Drake performed for the first time ever at the historic theatre.
After the Sunday night concert, fans walked to about a dozen NYPD officers, in plain sight, shooting video of those leaving the performance.
The five second clip went viral, with 20 million views and counting, and angered users on social media, including Twitter, about NYPD surveillance tactics.
“Well, first we have to be honest with ourselves. Twitter is not real and those little people that go back and forth all the time talking to themselves,” Adams said.
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In a statement to Eyewitness News, the NYPD said the officer seen in the blue jacket holding the camera is from the 28th Precinct social media team and that the officer was taking video for an upcoming Twitter post that will highlight local community events. The video will not be used for any other reason.
They said the final Drake concert video will look similar to a video created from a December toy drive.
The 28th Precinct has been posting highlights from local events, trying to promote a positive relationship between the community and the NYPD.
“When you have those that are sitting at home in the corner of the room, trying to find a reason to divide the NYPD from everyday New Yorkers, then they are going to say that,” Adams said. “Thumbs up to that great captain up in the 28 Precinct. I know that precinct. I know that captain. He’s very community-minded and community-centered and I commend him for doing so.”
But the clip reignited concerns raised last week when Madison Square Garden admitted to using facial recognition to remove litigants with actions against the arena. This prompted state legislators to introduce a new bill Monday, that would ban the use of facial recognition at sporting events.
Still, with the NYPD providing an explanation as to why cameras were filming people leaving the Apollo, a lot of New Yorkers still aren’t buying it. Meaning, the NYPD has a lot more work to do in improving community relations.
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