End police transparency excuses

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Act Now

The 2020 repeal of a section of state law called 50-a was intended to put an end to police secrecy about misconduct. Instead, police departments and unions continue to use their power – and new bogus excuses – to keep police misconduct records secret and shield officers from accountability.

Now lawmakers have introduced a new measure to make clear the full universe of police misconduct and disciplinary records must be made public. This bill would block the excuses that police departments have concocted, and would ensure the transparency New Yorkers have been demanding.

Tell lawmakers: End police transparency excuses.

Message Recipients:
Governor Kathy Hochul
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Your representatives

Police officers
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In 2020, New Yorkers took to the streets to protest police violence in the largest civil rights movement in decades. That June, state legislators took the historic step of repealing 50-a, a law that had made New York the least transparent state in the country about police misconduct and accountability. Since then, all police misconduct records were meant to be publicly available to New Yorkers.

Yet even with 50-a out of the picture, police departments across New York have come up with new bogus excuses for keeping the public in the dark – like overbroad claims of officer privacy or that old records are exempt.

While many courts have rejected police departments’ bad-faith arguments, some have sided with police departments and police unions. Despite the clear language of the bill repealing 50-a, the reality today is that police departments are continuing to hide disciplinary information, and at least some judges are letting them.

New legislation (S8428/A9050) would declare even more loudly and even more clearly that the full universe of police misconduct and disciplinary records must be made available to the public, and it deserves your support. This legislation would block the excuses that police departments have concocted, and would ensure the transparency New Yorkers have been demanding.

I urge you to keep your promise to New Yorkers and support this legislation to make police transparency a reality in New York.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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