NEWARK, NJ (SBN) – One year after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the ACLU-NJ (the “Groups”) today released To Record and Protect, a policy brief arguing for Attorney General Grewal to establish a First Amendment Policing Policy to reaffirm the rights of community members who record police encounters.
“George Floyd. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. Alton Sterling. We know these names because concerned bystanders bravely recorded tragic acts of police violence. How many more names do we not know and how many stories will we not hear, simply because no one was there to record?” ask the Groups in the brief.
With camera phones ubiquitous, many New Jerseyans have the ability to record at a moment’s notice. Videos and recordings of police encounters can be critical tools in documenting abuse and holding law enforcement accountable.
ACLU-NJ Staff Attorney Tess Borden spoke with SBN News Director Steve Lubetkin about the policy brief and the ACLU’s advice for citizens who want to record police activity.
About Tess Borden
Tess Borden is a Staff Attorney at the ACLU-NJ, where she conducts litigation and advocacy on a range of civil rights issues, including prisoners’ rights, criminal justice reform, voting rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and non-discrimination, students’ rights, and free speech. She was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Inter-Agency Working Group on Body Worn Cameras, which concluded its work in March 2021, and is honored to serve currently as one of the Governor’s appointees to the Advisory Board to the Office of the Corrections Ombudsperson, in which role she has committed to being accountable to directly impacted community members.
Prior to joining the ACLU-NJ in 2017, Tess was the Aryeh Neier Fellow at the National ACLU and Human Rights Watch, where she authored the 196-page report “Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States” and litigated issues of criminal law reform. Tess has also worked for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, and HRW’s West Africa Division in Dakar, Senegal, as well as spending time before law school as an immigration paralegal.
Tess received her bachelor’s degree from Yale College, where she majored in French, and her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she was a member of the International Human Rights Clinic and an editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. She clerked for the Honorable George A. O’Toole, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.