As fans left Drake’s first-ever concert at Harlem’s Apollo Theater on Sunday (Jan. 22), they were shocked to find over a dozen NYPD officers recording outside the venue. Naturally, Twitter users voiced their concerns over the controversial move, wondering if this was another example of the “Hip-Hop Police” spying on popular rap artists and their fans.
To try and ease the tension, NYPD’s 28th precinct released the footage on Wednesday, January 25, backing up their claims that they were only filming for a social media project for their community affairs team. As reported by ABC7 in New York, the concert is one of a series of local community events that the precinct shared on its social media to help foster a more positive relationship between the NYPD and the community.
Mayor Eric Adams spoke of the project and combatting Twitter backlash, saying, “When you have those that are sitting at home in the corner of the room, trying to find a reason to divide NYPD from everyday New Yorkers, then they are going to say that. Thumbs up to that great captain [Tarik Sheppard] up in the 28th Precinct. I know that precinct. I know that captain. He’s very community-minded and community-centered and I commend him for doing so.”
Despite the NYPD’s best attempts to defuse the situation, many are still concerned about their true intentions. The incident brought back concerns from the previous week when representatives from Madison Square Garden admitted to using facial recognition technology to identify and deny entry to attorneys involved in ongoing litigations against the company. State lawmakers currently have a bill pending that will possibly ban the use of facial recognition at sporting events.
Overall, it looks like the NYPD has a lot more work to do to strengthen its community ties.
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