NEW YORK PRESS CLUB TO GOV. CUOMO: DON’T CURTAIL RELEASE OF MUG SHOTS AND ARREST REPORTS

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking to curtail the public release of arrest reports and booking photos (“mug shots”), unless there is a reasonable law enforcement purpose in releasing them. The governor has suggested that the routine release of such photos and records feeds what he calls an “internet shaming industry” that extorts money from people seen in booking photos. Mr. Cuomo calls the proliferation of mug shot websites “a clear abuse.”

The New York Press Club urges Governor Cuomo to reconsider.

We believe that curtailing the release of arrest information, including booking photos, would represent a serious erosion of the public’s right to know what is happening in their community. It could also lead to “secret arrests,” in which people are detained with no public explanation as to why.

Blocking the public release of mug shots to crack down on internet shaming sites is like throwing out the baby with the bath water. They are two separate issues.

The New York Press Club asks Governor Cuomo to protect the public’s right to know, and continue to allow media access to all arrest reports and booking photos.

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