Legal Aid Society

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Client Stories: Robbin Vazquez Was Arrested for Legally Filming the NYPD

The Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit today against the City of New York and New York Police Department (NYPD) Officers Obson Cesar and Alfredo Brewster for violating the first amendment rights of Robbin Vazquez — a 41-year-old Brooklyn mother and community youth mentor — in retaliation for her filming the erroneous arrest of her child’s father outside of her residence.

Despite the Constitutional protections, the City of New York and the NYPD maintain a widespread custom and practice of permitting officers to violate the rights of people recording or attempting to record police activity in public spaces, even when those individuals are not interfering in any way with the police activity at issue. The retaliatory arrest of Ms. Vazquez is but one example in a litany of unlawful arrests by the NYPD in retaliation against individuals exercising their First Amendment right to record the police.

Ms. Vazquez is the subject of a new profile by the New York Daily News, her lawsuit documents a bevy of related civil rights violations perpetrated by officers Cesar and Brewster including false arrest and imprisonment, excessive use of force, and deprivation of federally protected rights.

Read the full piece here.