Mayor Eric Adams, NYPD address backlash in viral video of officers taken after Drake concert at Harlem’s Apollo Theater

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) — Footage of the NYPD capturing video of people leaving a Drake concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem sent Twitter into a frenzy over the weekend, but the department insists it’s not like that.

“This is a great event. Drake back at the Apollo! We want it. We need our police and community involved,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

It was an epic weekend at the Apollo. Drake performed at the historic venue for the first time.

After Sunday night’s concert, fans walked up to about a dozen NYPD officers.

The five-second clip went viral, with 20 million views and counting, and users on social media, including Twitter, were outraged about the NYPD’s surveillance tactics.

“Well, first of all we have to be honest with ourselves. Twitter isn’t real, it’s just little people going back and forth all the time talking to each other,” Adams said.

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In a statement to Eyewitness News, the NYPD said the officer in the blue jacket with the camera was from the 28th Social Media Squad and was taking video for an upcoming Twitter post highlighting local community events. The video will not be used for any other purpose.

They said the final video for Drake’s concert will be similar to the video made from December’s Toy Drive.

The 28th Precinct posts highlights of local events that strive to promote a positive relationship between the community and the NYPD.

“When people sitting at home in the corner of the room trying to find a reason to separate the NYPD from everyday New Yorkers, that’s what they’re going to say,” Adams said. “Thumbs up to that great captain at No. 28. I know the campus. I know that captain. He’s very socially conscious and community-oriented and I appreciate him for doing that.”

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But the clip reignited concerns raised last week when Madison Square Garden admitted it used facial recognition to eliminate plaintiffs in lawsuits against the arena. That prompted state lawmakers to introduce a new bill Monday that would ban the use of facial recognition at sporting events.

However, a lot of New Yorkers still aren’t buying it as the NYPD offers an explanation for why cameras are filming people leaving the Apollo. That said, the NYPD still has a lot of work to do in improving community relations.

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