The New York Police Department’s move against one of the city’s largest popular newspapers was unusual: it issued a subpoena demanding information about a New York Post reporter’s Twitter account and cited the anti-terror law passed after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The legal maneuver has raised fears that the ministry, the country’s largest police force, is taking tough steps to control the agency’s media coverage.
The summons was issued on December 9, just days after Dermot Shea took over as Police Commissioner.
Before his promotion, Commissioner Xia was the chief of the detective’s office in the department, where he obtained it A reputation for being indecisive To spread the information to reporters.
The summons sought to obtain the ISPs addresses, emails, and other information associated with the Twitter account of Tina Moore, The Post’s chief police reporter.
The order was issued to Twitter, which refused to comply and reported to The Post this week on the subpoena. After the newspaper’s lawyers called the police station, the agency abandoned her request.
The police can, under certain circumstances, issue direct subpoenas, without seeking the judge’s consent.
The administration was investigating the leakage of crime scene photos to Mrs. Moore and was searching for information from October 9 to October 14, 2019, when Ms. Moore released photos of a shooting that left Four dead, Post said.
“We are investigating to determine the identity of the person who leaked the scene of the crime scene,” police spokeswoman Sergeant Jessica McCurry said in a statement. “Tina Moore was not the focus of our investigation.”
And Eva Benson, a spokeswoman for “The Post”, issued a statement saying that the actions of the police department “contradict the free press.” “The Patriot Act was passed to facilitate the prevention of deadly terrorist attacks, and it does not help the government in suppressing people who speak to journalists,” she said.
Freedom of expression advocates said the summons was a strange tactic, partly because New York State has some of the nation’s most stringent shield laws and protects journalists from revealing classified information about their sources.
“The subpoena was unsuccessful and would be somewhat trivial,” George Freeman, director of the Media Law Resource Center, a nonprofit resource group, told reporters and a former New York Times lawyer. “The New York Law protects news reporter press information.”
News of the summons came just days after the arrest of the independent photographer, Amr El-Feki, after that Filming the arrest of a man in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
The police said that Mr. Al-Fiki, who holds credentials from the police department, identifying him as a media photographer, rejected orders from the officers to stop filming.
He said he told the officers he was a journalist. But the police said that he did not show his credentials at the time, and he was arrested.
Mr. Micky Ostricher, his lawyer, said that Mr. Vicky received a desk ticket for his disorganized behavior.
Police officials said that the leak of the photos to Mrs. Moore was a violation of the administration’s patrol evidence. In some cases, the police said, the unauthorized release of crime scene photos could be considered a hindrance to government administration, a misdemeanor under state law.
But freedom of expression experts said they did not understand why the police department, in its efforts to investigate the spill, switched to the Patriot Act, after September. 11 statute that gave the federal government broad powers to poll citizens.
Mr. Freeman said: “The utter futility, used by the Patriot Act, serves as the basis for summons in the first place.” “Certainly, the investigation conducted by the Special Police in search of a leak is not what the Patriot Act is about.”
The part of the verb mentioned in the summons, section 211, refers to the information and metadata transmitted over the airwaves.
The confiscation of journalist records is usually determined in a federal court and often includes classified information related to national security issues.
The police department’s issuance of the order raised concerns among freedom of expression advocates about how the agency would use subpoena.
“One wonders if they can issue Willie summons, when anyone in the police department feels this way,” said Freeman.