Support Grows To Repeal NY Law Shielding Police Disciplinary Records

Steve Burns
June 06, 2020 - 7:29 pm

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Momentum is growing for the repeal of a 40-year-old law in New York, known as 50-a, which shields police disciplinary records from the public and the press.

    Dozens of lawmakers have now voiced their support for a repeal of the law, which activists say makes it hard to hold police in the state accountable.

    The law went on the books back in 1976, “when the world was a different place,” state Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell said.

    O'Donnell has led the push to repeal Civil Rights Law 50-a. That push started five years ago in 2015, when he said only a handful of lawmakers had signed on.

    “Slowly but surely the movement has moved to the point where we are now, where we have 62 sponsors for the repeal of 50-a bill,” O'Donnell said.

    The law is still being cited now as Mayor Bill de Blasio is asked to release the records of officers involved in ongoing protests.

    "Law Department of New York City, they have said there are things we cannot release under state law, and we don’t do illegal acts,” de Blasio said in response to requests for records.

    It was the de Blasio administration that expanded the scope of the law in 2016, when it stopped releasing even bare-bones records to reporters. Now de Blasio said he fully supports a repeal.

    “The more people believe there is accountability and fairness, the greater safety for all, including officers,” de Blasio said.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will sign any bill to reform or repeal 50-a.

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