Milbank LLP, serving as pro bono counsel for the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), has sued the New York Police Department (NYPD) in an effort to secure body-camera footage and 911 call recordings from the NYPD’s fatal shooting of a woman last year in Queens.
Though officers who arrived at Susan Muller’s home were wearing body-worn cameras (BWCs), no video or audio footage of the incident was released to the public. Following public reports of Ms. Muller’s death, NYLPI made a request under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for the unedited audio and video files from all of the BWCs of every officer involved, as well as unedited audio files from the 911 calls placed by Ms. Muller that day. The NYPD provided a blanket denial to the request, refusing to provide even redacted portions of audio and video files on the basis of numerous asserted FOIL exemptions. For more on the incident and lawsuit, click here to read the NYPLI/Milbank press release.
Earlier this year, Milbank and NYLPI helped secure a landmark ruling against the NYPD over access to unredacted BWC footage from another fatal shooting. Following a lawsuit by the firm and NYPLI, the New York State Supreme Court ruled on June 13 that under FOIL, the NYPD was required to turn over the footage within 30 days.
The Milbank pro bono team in both suits is led by Litigation partner Jed Schwartz, with associates Benjamin Reed and Marion Burke.