Repeal 50A and Investigate Police Brutality against Bronx Protestors
Even under the glare of spotlights and camera lenses, police officers continue to commit acts of abuse against people who are peacefully exercising their first amendment right to protest government action or policy. This includes police officers who have a history of violent incidents and/or complaints.
The nation’s reaction to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Officer has forced an examination of policing and police accountability. Especially as these issues concern the lives and values of Americans generally, but in particular Americans of color.
In our state, Law 50-A makes it almost impossible for the public to know the complaint history of a police officer. Whether or not any or none of the complaints against a police officer are substantiated, it’s not the point; the point is that the public has a legitimate interest in knowing the history of an officer who has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the law, and who has the discretion on the street to use force up to and including deadly force. Neither the public nor the police department should be forced to continue to endure the abuse and violence of a police officer who acts as if he or she is above the law.
On behalf of the South Bronx community, a community which for decades has suffered oppressive and targeted policing, where I have lived for 64 years and where I have personally experienced several encounters of police brutality (including the false arrest of my son which led me to co-found Discovery For Justice - the leading advocate for the Open Discovery law that finally became law this January 2020), I urge the NYS General Assembly and Senate to improve policing and police-community relations by repealing Law 50-A during its upcoming session.
Update: As of 6/9 The N.Y. Senate voted to repeal50-A, making police disciplinary records public. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s8496