Harlem, Manhattan (WABC) – Twitter went into a frenzy over the weekend after the NYPD caught a video of people leaving Drake’s concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, but the department insists it’s not what it seems.
“It was a big event. Drake is back on the Apollo! We want it. We want our police and our community to be involved,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
It was an epic weekend at the Apollo. Drake performed for the first time ever in the historic theatre.
After Sunday night’s party, fans walked up to about a dozen NYPD officers, in full view, and videotaped those leaving the performance.
The five-second clip went viral, with 20 million views and counting, and sparked outrage among users on social media, including Twitter, about the NYPD’s surveillance tactics.
Adams said, “Well, first we have to be honest with ourselves. Twitter isn’t real and these little people who go back and forth all the time are talking to themselves.”
In a statement to Eyewitness News, the NYPD said the officer seen in the blue vest holding the camera is from the precinct’s 28th Social Media Team and that the officer was filming a video for an upcoming Twitter post that will highlight local community events. The video will not be used for any other reason.
They said the final video of Drake’s concert would look similar to a video generated from a game engine in December.
The 28th Precinct has been publishing highlights from local events, in an effort to foster a positive relationship between the community and the NYPD.
“When you have people sitting at home in the corner of the room, trying to find a reason to separate the NYPD from ordinary New Yorkers, they’ll say it,” Adams said. “Thumbs up to that great captain in District 28. I know that district. I know that captain. He’s very community-oriented and community-centric and I commend him for doing that.”
But the clip sparked concerns raised last week when Madison Square Garden admitted to using facial recognition to remove litigants taking action against the arena. That prompted state lawmakers to introduce a new bill on Monday that would ban the use of facial recognition at sporting events.
However, with the NYPD offering an explanation as to why cameras are filming people leaving the Apollo, many New Yorkers still don’t buy it. Meaning, the NYPD has a lot of work to do in improving community relations.
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