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Why Did Police Record Video of Attendees at Drake’s Apollo Show?

After fans at the Harlem concert and would-be internet sleuths were perplexed, Boardroom later received word from the NYPD about why cops had cameras rolling outside the venue.

It was a night of both anticipation and nostalgia for Drake fans on hand to watch the hip-hop artist perform at Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater Saturday. In his first-ever concert at the venue, the superstar performed a spirited setlist that ran the gamut across classic albums like Thank Me Later, Take Care, Nothing Was The Same, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Views, and Scorpion.

But when emotions settled and fans exited the theater, one particular video after the show went viral — an NYPD officer videotaping attendees on an iPhone attached to a gimbal stabilizer.

The NYPD’s Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) policy states that the public is entitled to information in regard to what recorded surveillance is for, how long they keep data, and what they do with it.

Here’s what the authorities explained about the Drake Apollo situation:

“The officer depicted in the video is a community affairs officer involved in the 28th Precinct social media team,” the NYPD said in a statement to Boardroom. “The officer was taking video for an upcoming Twitter post that will highlight local community events. The video will not be utilized for any other reasoning.”

The NYPD’s DCPI did not further comment on how long they will hold the surveillance footage taken or what they plan on doing with it.

In what appears by all accounts to be an unrelated event, a 26-year-old fan was hospitalized after falling from a balcony on the Apollo’s mezzanine level about 90 minutes into the performance. The show was paused for approximately 15 minutes before resuming without further incident.

All told, the video recording by law enforcement inevitably raised eyebrows in that it was not immediately transparent as to why it was taking place. As New York City Mayor and former NYPD captain Eric Adams said in response to the officer in question, “Thumbs up to that great captain.”

Even when taking the official explanation regarding the 28th Precinct social media team at face value, this intriguing moment begs a few remaining queries and clarifications. The Apollo Theater holds a maximum capacity of 1,506 guests, and many of those folks are all wondering about the answer to the same question. Not for nothing, this episode comes on the heels of growing controversy regarding the use of face-scanning technology at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall to ban certain individuals from attending events.

Other than this peculiar moment and the injured fan, the 41-song evening of music was a hit. Drake even teased a potential EP soon, telling fans “I hope I can strike up more emotions for you,” he said. “Maybe this year. I might get bored and make another one. Who knows.” Evidently, the main emotion afterwards was confusion — and still probably is.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.