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Sep 4, 2014

New York City police to test wearable cameras in coming months

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City’s police commissioner unveiled body cameras on Thursday that his department will start testing soon, demonstrating the equipment by playing a short video showing a notably good-natured traffic stop from an officer’s perspective.

“I’m going to issue you a summons for that red light, OK?” the unseen officer can be heard politely telling the driver he has just pulled over. “Give me a second, OK?” the officer adds in a reassuring voice, which the driver appears to think is fair enough. “I’ll be right back.”

Sep 3, 2014

New York police to announce details of body camera pilot program

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City’s police department is planning to release new details this week about its pilot program for equipping officers with wearable video cameras to record encounters with the public, the department’s chief spokesman said.

A federal judge ordered the department last year to test the technology in a handful of police precincts after ruling that police had acted unconstitutionally by stopping and frisking black and Latino New Yorkers in disproportionate numbers.

Aug 28, 2014

Fatal heroin overdoses on the rise in New York City

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The number of deaths from accidental overdoses of opioid drugs has steadily risen in New York City since 2010, in part because of an apparent resurgence in heroin use, according to data released on Thursday by the city’s health department.

Heroin overdoses killed 420 people in the city in 2013, the highest in a decade, the department said. It was the most common substance tied to overdose deaths, involved in 54 percent of them.

Aug 26, 2014

NYC police union blasts mayor, urges Democrats to snub convention bid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York City police union leader on Tuesday castigated Mayor Bill de Blasio and his bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, saying the city was losing ground in the fight against crime since he took office in January.

Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, leveled the criticism of the mayor in an open letter published in the New York Times. It was the latest example of heated language directed at the mayor from the city’s two largest police unions in the wake of an unarmed man’s death during an arrest last month.

Aug 22, 2014

Sharpton adapts adversarial style to de Blasio’s New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) – It was not the first time the Reverend Al Sharpton made his way to City Hall in a fiery mood to scold a mayor about New York City police officers killing an unarmed black man.

Still, something about Sharpton’s appearance with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton late last month left some observers, and possibly even some of the participants, feeling off-kilter.

Aug 20, 2014

NYC mayor turns to clergy to heal rift over police choke hold

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio turned to the city’s religious leaders on Wednesday to help heal relations between minority communities after a black man on Staten Island died last month after police put him in a choke hold.

De Blasio held a private meeting with his police commissioner and a dozen Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergymen. Afterwards they held a press conference that at times sounded more like a prayer service, with repeated paeans to the importance of unity.

Aug 20, 2014

With union deal, curtain falls on Met Opera’s labor dispute

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The curtain will rise on Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” next month at New York’s Metropolitan Opera after a deal was reached early on Wednesday with the third of its three largest unions, averting a threatened lockout.

Among the provisions was the hiring of an independent analyst to monitor the Met’s budget, according to The Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE.

Aug 19, 2014

NYC grand jury to hear police chokehold case

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York City prosecutor said on Tuesday he will present evidence to a grand jury next month in the death of an unarmed man who police put in a chokehold while arresting him.

Daniel Donovan Jr., the district attorney in the New York borough of Staten Island, said in a statement that Eric Garner’s death had been investigated “with a full appreciation that no person is above the law, nor beneath its protection.”

Aug 12, 2014

Times Square’s costumed superheroes fight back against bad press

NEW YORK (Reuters) – After a spate of arrests and bad publicity, the costumed characters who pose for tourist photographs in New York’s Times Square in the hopes of a cash tip have formed an association to preserve a livelihood that has come under increasing scrutiny.

Dozens of people dressed as Spider-Man, Batman, Elmo, Mickey Mouse and other children’s favorites, roam the crowded sidewalks and pedestrian plazas around Times Square each day, beckoning toward passing kids and their camera-toting parents.

Aug 11, 2014

New York police to Times Square tourists: call 911 if a superhero pesters you

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York police have begun handing out fliers to tourists in Times Square telling them that tipping the costumed superheroes and children’s characters who pose for photographs is optional, and to call the 911 emergency number if they have complaints.

The fliers are part of an aggressive crackdown after a string of arrests of people dressed as characters who have gotten into confrontations with tourists or police, including one dressed as Spider-Man charged last month with punching a police officer who intervened in a tipping dispute.