LOWER MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday issued a warning to New Yorkers who record police interactions on their phone: move back.

The mayor — a retired NYPD captain — criticized civilians who film officers at a close range while they make an arrest. He made the comments during a news conference detailing the rollout of the NYPD’s new neighborhood safety teams.

“Stop being on top of my police officers while they carry on their jobs; not acceptable and won’t be tolerated,” Adams said. “If your iPhone can’t catch that picture at a safe distance then you need to upgrade your iPhone.”

As part of the mayor’s new initiative to get guns off the streets, neighborhood safety officers will wear body cameras to record each interaction with the public. However, under the city’s “Right-to-Record” police transparency law, every New Yorker also has the right to record police activity. 

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams sponsored the legislation passed by the City Council in 2020. In response to the mayor’s comments, Williams released a statement saying he wants to make sure the public’s rights are upheld.

“The reason we know names like Eric Garner and George Floyd is the right to record – and that right to public transparency and accountability is critical to preventing others like them from losing their lives,” he said in the statement.

Adams said he agrees the public has the right to record police interactions, but added that being too close to the NYPD during an arrest can create a “dangerous environment.”

“If an officer is trying to prevent a dispute from taking place, and deescalate, they shouldn’t have someone standing over their shoulder with a camera in their face yelling and screaming at them without even realizing what the encounter is all about,” he said.