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New York Civil Case Settled in 1977 by Simply Clarifying Rule

A U.S. district court in New York allowed the New York City Police Department (NYCPD) to settle a civil case in 1977 by stipulating and clarifying the NYCPD’s policy on bystanders remaining in the area of an arrest in progress.

Lawyers for both parties agreed that the NYCPD would not admit any violation by any of its employees. According to the order, onlookers shall not be arrested without probable cause. Unless done in a threatening matter, the following are specifically excluded from being deemed probable cause: remaining in the vicinity, speech alone, taking pictures and making note of officers’ names or shield numbers.

If a bystander is taken into custody the arresting officer is required to report it to his supervisor. Upon the issuance of this order, all NYCPD employees were to be made aware of such an order. See: Black v. Codd, USDC, S.D.N.Y., No. 73-Civ-5283.

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Related legal case

Black v. Codd

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