POLITICAL ARENA

Council pulls plug on NYPD credentialing

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The authority to grant reporters access to crime scenes, public meetings and elected officials could soon move from the New York Police Department to the mayor’s media and entertainment office. But that decision has not been universally supported — especially by Councilman Fernando Cabrera.

The Bronx borough president candidate voted against Intro. 2118 last week that would have moved press credentialing to another city agency primarily over what he says is a steep price tag attached to it.

“We’re cutting jobs because of the (COVID-19 pandemic) deficit, but this new law will cost us more than $1.3 million over the next fiscal years,” Cabrera said, in a statement to The Riverdale Press. “This change was not made based on any evident that press credentials were being revoked or denied due to press coverage.”

However, some reporters said officers confiscated NYPD-issued credentials during last summer’s protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Although such credentials are not required for reporters to do their jobs, not having them could create barriers in accessing city events or police actions throughout the five boroughs.

Many journalist groups called for such credentialing to be moved away from the NYPD, as they feared officers could deny press tags simply out of retaliation.

Cabrera disagreed.

“It seems to be the wrong direction to take during a fiscal deficit when city workers are losing jobs,” he said.