New York Legislators Dump Law That Allowed PDs To Withhold Officers' Disciplinary Records

from the it's-a-shame-it-took-another-killing-by-cops-to-make-this-happen dept

More than 40 years after a law went on the books in New York allowing cops, firefighters, and corrections officers to have their disciplinary records hidden from the public, the NYPD suddenly decided to start following the law.

For years, the NYPD gave journalists access to "Personnel Orders," which detailed the outcomes of closed internal investigations. They were posted on a clipboard in the NYPD's public information office, making them as public as any record can be. In 2016, the NYPD suddenly decided it was no longer going to share these with the public, citing (I'm not even kidding) a need to "save paper."

Another, less laughable explanation was later given by Deputy Chief Ed Mullen. The NYPD spokesman said someone in the PD's legal bureau had re-read the 1976 law and realized the NYPD had no obligation to turn over this info to the public. So it stopped. (On the other hand, the NYPD is indebted to the public to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements every year, so maybe it would have made sense to let this four-decade oversight continue.)

The NYPD seized the moment four decades too late, further shielding its officers from accountability. This decision to stop being even slightly open about officer discipline followed a few high profile killings of citizens by officers -- most notably Eric Garner, who was choked to death by a police officer during an arrest.

For almost a half-decade, city legislators have been trying to get the law -- known simply as "50-a" -- repealed. Some state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, have suggested they're up for some limited reform, but neither of these two have expressed support for a repeal of the law.

It looks as though both officials will get the repeal they never really wanted. And if they want to thank anyone for this outcome, they can thank all the bad cops in America, starting with Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The Democrat-led Legislature approved the long-stalled reform of the statute — which is routinely used to keep the public from learning about police misconduct and disciplinary actions taken against officers — in response to protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black Minnesota man who was killed when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

[...]

The bill passed along party lines in the Senate, 40-22, with all Republicans voting against the measure. The Assembly approved the measure 101-43 Tuesday evening, also along party lines.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has already promised to sign the bill, which will erase 50-a from the books. That hasn't made the state's police unions very happy. Pat Lynch -- president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association -- claims the release of records will endanger the lives of cops, even with personal information (address, phone numbers, etc.) redacted.

Then there's this bizarre statement, which suggests a bunch of cops feel informing the public about misconduct is unfair to the brave men and women committing the misconduct.

A coalition of law enforcement groups said in a statement Monday that releasing records, including complaints, could leave officers facing “unavoidable and irreparable harm to reputation and livelihood.”

Yeah. Like a public permanent record. Imagine being this obtuse about your job and your obligations to the public. Then imagine doing it while your fellow officers release tons of personal info about anyone ever booked into a jail... or extrajudicially killed by an officer. These are your nation's law enforcement reps, ladies and gentleman. And in the face of incremental accountability improvements, they're issuing statements so self-serving that those issuing them are blind to the inherent stupidity of their claims.

Filed Under: disciplinary records, new york, police


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 2:51am

    One sec, need to find the nano-violin...

    A coalition of law enforcement groups said in a statement Monday that releasing records, including complaints, could leave officers facing “unavoidable and irreparable harm to reputation and livelihood.”

    You know what would prevent that sort of 'harm'? Not acting in such an atrocious manner that people learning how bad you are causes 'irreparable harm to reputation and livelihood'.

    If the public learning what you do while on the taxpayer's dime is enough to cause massive damage to your reputation and ability to stay employed by the public then neither the records nor the pubic are the source of your problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:46am

      You know what would prevent that sort of 'harm'? Not acting in such an atrocious manner that people learning how bad you are causes 'irreparable harm to reputation and livelihood'.

      “But then how will our boys in blue keep the peace?” — police union leaders, probably

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:54am

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:19am

    Hamilton's not going to like this, is he?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      I can already see him screaming his "But Obama!" in cracked-voice falsetto with tears running down both cheeks. He won't have suffered such crushing despair since the fall of Prenda.

      Eventually he'll man up enough to do his new blackface improv act and pretend to be what he thinks an angry black activist sounds like by quoting some out-of-context speech written by confused communist agitators in 1960.

      And if we're really lucky he'll pull one of those "long-time-reader-first-time-writer" bits where he says he is very disappoint and now he'll go away forever, kthxbye. That may last him an entire week before he's back, succumbing to his addiction of screaming about the black man who became president.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 8:18am

        Barrack Fucking Obama's Friend and Mentor, DipWeed

        William Charles Ayers (/ɛərz/; born December 26, 1944)[1] is an American elementary education theorist. During the 1960s, Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground that opposed US involvement in the Vietnam War. He is known for his 1960s radical activism and his later work in education reform, curriculum and instruction.

        In 1969, Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground, a self-described communist revolutionary group that sought to overthrow imperialism.[2] The Weather Underground conducted a campaign of bombing public buildings (including police stations, the United States Capitol, and the Pentagon) during the 1960s and 1970s in response to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

        Ayers is a retired professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, formerly holding the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar.[3] During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, a controversy arose over his contacts with then-candidate Barack Obama. He is married to lawyer and Clinical Law Professor Bernardine Dohrn, who was also a leader in the Weather Underground.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:51am

    Well yeah...

    "A coalition of law enforcement groups said in a statement Monday that releasing records, including complaints, could leave officers facing “unavoidable and irreparable harm to reputation and livelihood.”"

    That IS the normal consequence of doing bad things on the job - your reputation sinks through the floor and your continued employment becomes iffy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 8:32am

      Re: Well yeah...

      One of the biggest issues with the police are the UNIONS who protect all these tyrant PIGS. If it makes National News where they just can't cover it up, they might be arrested which is pretty rare but fired. The news moves onto something else and these tyrants get another job at another police department.

      The police are paid for by the public and work for the public and so everything about them should be out in the PUBIC for everyone to be able to see. That includes all the complaints and worse.

      Maybe they should be wearing working Body Cameras that can prove they did nothing wrong when getting a false complaint. Cameras work both ways. They show the police doing things right and they show police acting like tyrant pigs.

      How about as a Police Officer you act like one of the good ones and do your job correctly and actually KNOW THE LAWS you are trying to enforce. Not making up LIES to get people to do what YOU want. How about not whipping out the tazer or gun right off the bat. Not being afraid of your own shadow. Shooting and murdering someone because you think they might have a gun you never actually saw!!!!

      I've read about these B.S. No knock warrant. But into a house, swarm the place, wake up a man in bed sleeping from the noise. they rush the room, see him supposedly reaching for something and shoot him DEAD. True Story!!! There was no gun and in fact it was the wrong house and the guy is DEAD and nothing happens to these pigs. It's like Ops, oh well and move on.

      All this crap needs to end. I've seen more videos of police attacking Black Men for no real reason even when all eyes are on them. It's like they can't help themselves. We need POLICE!!! The answer is not to get rid of them. The answer is to hold them accountable. Stop with that B.S. of looking into the complaint and finding they did nothing wrong garbage.

      If there are so called Good police,m they need to stop covering up for the bad ones. Like with the death of this Black Man where the Rookie Cop, Spoke Up, knew it was wrong, said something and was overruled and then continued to do the same. That's like being a guard at a NAZI camp. You know what is going on. People are being gassed and you you continue to DO YOUR JOB even though you know it's wrong. That almost m makes you worse. They stand there and watch what is going on, knowing it's wrong and yet do nothing. Because of the THIN BLUE LINE. They cover for each other. Really, that makes you just as BAD as the tyrant pig being a pig.

      If you as a group go to rob a bank, and you are outside the whole time as the getaway driver. Someone insides shoots and kills the person. They ALL, including that driver outside are all guilty of MURDER!!!! You as the driver knew what could happen. Well the death of the black man is the say. That Rookie knew it was wrong and should have put a stop to it!!! At the very least, have gotten off of the mans back. Been more forceful with the others to turn him. To not be on his NECK!!!

      This is the problem with this Blue Line Gang. The Rookies end up picking up the bad habits from these older officers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 12 Jun 2020 @ 6:07am

    So does this mean

    that "Pat Lynch -- president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association", is in charge of the Lynch Mob?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 6:18am

    A coalition of law enforcement groups said in a statement Monday that releasing records, including complaints, could leave officers facing “unavoidable and irreparable harm to reputation and livelihood.”

    That's rich coming from a group that will release any and all information about victims of police violence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      There are no " victims of police violence", only bad people that you need to know more about to know how really, really bad they are (or were)

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 7:43am

        Help me! I am so oppressed!

        This is a corrupt politics, proven bankrupt again and again. In the
        IIS, where many of the people who are exploited by imperialism also receive
        benefits from the super-exploitation of the colonies, economism feeds the
        idea that people here can be free while other oppressed people are still under
        the yoke of US imperialism.

        Our deep political concern was the historic tendency of the white
        left to abandon militant anti-imperialism and anti-racism —principled
        support for Third World struggle— in search of easy integration with the
        masses. It is difficult to synthesize militant anti-imperialism with a mass base
        among oppressor-nation people because of the whole fabric of relative
        social/ materia I white-skin privilege. Much of the movement resolved this
        contradiction in the direction of opportunism around race. This was the
        main error of the period, deeply rooted in US radical history.

        A comparable example was the student power movement. Some
        argued that the demand for student's rights and power would become
        revolutionary in and of itself. This is not true. The chauvinism of "student
        power" demands by white students ignored the claims of university workers,
        the community, and the Third World people who would be the victims of
        university-researched weapons and programs. This demand encouraged
        narrow concern for a relatively privileged sector at the expense of the more
        oppressed. But when the student revolts actively allied with other
        movements in the interests of the most oppressed peoples against the
        common enemy, they became a serious threat to the empire. When each
        movement only sees its own claims arid interests in isolation from other
        movements, they play themselves out, one after the other.

        Another major factor at this point was the rebellion of women
        against sexism in the society and in the left. The left is not immune from the
        sexism which pervades US society: the oppressor culture persists and must

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 8:00am

          Re: Help me! I am so oppressed!

          be extinguished at all costs. Sorry I was out of breath.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2020 @ 6:19pm

            Re: Re:

            Sorry I was out of breath.

            Yeah, surgically attaching your lips to the ballsack of a cop tends to do that to you.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      And people accused (not even necessarily convicted in one of their kangaroo courts) of crimes.

      But cops doing crimes, no that info is secret.

      But here's a little tip: If you don't like people knowing who you are, maybe don't work in one of the most public jobs evar.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:42pm

    Long ago, and far away..

    There really werent that many to police the People..
    history is a misery.

    But lets ask SOME questions.
    WHY do 'we the people' have to pay for THERE mistakes?
    Yes, people make mistakes, and I would hope they learn from them..
    But the last time I saw an Employer NOT fire someone for Constantly failing, was the Son of the employer.

    the small town I live, the Mayor Fired a police officer before reading the contract. The Person went to war, and was told his job would be there when he returned. It was, but the Sheriff that ran the dept, had changed.

    In the End this small town had to pay that person over $500,000 for Wrongful firing. About 10 years of pay. Thats just 1 incidence.
    Then we can Question the state, as this town hadnt filed its yearly data and expenditures..for 10 years. And the state didnt walk in and ask for it,.

    Why are we paying Property taxes for idiots, and roads that are failing. Anyone have a hint??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobob, 12 Jun 2020 @ 12:56pm

    This should be a no brainer. People paid by the public are essentially employed by the public to perform the services they provide. Their records ought to be in the public domain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 12 Jun 2020 @ 11:35pm

      Re:

      This should be a no brainer.

      It sure is one!

      But wait, what do I spy in the article...

      The bill passed along party lines in the Senate, 40-22, with all Republicans voting against the measure. The Assembly approved the measure 101-43 Tuesday evening, also along party lines.

      Yup, sounds about right.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 13 Jun 2020 @ 1:34am

        Re: Re:

        New York Republicans: Because the best way to show what you really think about police corruption and accountability is voting against a bill attempting to tackle those issues.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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