HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) — Twitter was abuzz over the weekend after the New York City Police Department captured video of people leaving a Drake concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, but the department insists it’s not what it seems.

“It was a big event. Drake is back on Apollo! We want it. We want our police and community to be involved,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

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

After the concert Sunday night, fans approached about a dozen New York City police officers in plain sight, filming those leaving the show.

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

“Well, first we have to be honest with ourselves. Twitter isn’t real and these little people who are always going back and forth talking to themselves,” Adams said.

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In a statement to Eyewitness News, the NYPD said the officer seen wearing a blue jacket and holding a camera is part of the 28th Precinct’s social media team and that the officer was filming a video for an upcoming Twitter post that will highlight local community events. The video will not be used for any other reason.

They said Drake’s latest concert video will be similar to a video created from December’s Toy Disc.

The 28th Precinct has been publishing highlights of local events in an attempt to foster a positive relationship between the community and the NYPD.

“If you have those who are sitting at home in the corner of the room trying to find a reason to separate the NYPD from ordinary New Yorkers, they’re going to say that,” Adams said. “Big thumbs up to that great captain in the 28th precinct. I know this section. I know this captain. He’s very community-minded and community-minded, and I’m grateful to him for that.”

But the clip reignited concerns raised last week when Madison Square Garden admitted to using facial recognition to remove participants in an anti-arena lawsuit. That prompted state lawmakers to introduce a new bill Monday that would ban the use of facial recognition at sporting events.

Despite the NYPD’s explanation for why cameras filmed people leaving the Apollo, many New Yorkers still disagree. This means that the NYPD needs to do a lot more work to improve relations with the community.


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