Statement on Legislature’s Repeal of Police Secrecy Law 50-a and Modification of FOIL
Our groups thank Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell and Jamaal Bailey, Speaker Carl Heastie, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and the Assembly and State Senate for passing S8496/A10611. Our groups strongly support this bill and ask Governor Cuomo to sign it immediately, without modification or chapter amendment.
The bill repeals Section 50-a of the Civil Rights Law and modifies the Public Officers Law so that disciplinary records of police, fire and correction officers are subject to public disclosure via a Freedom of Information request.
Transparency and accountability advocates have argued for years that 50-a should be repealed. The State’s own Committee on Open Government officially called for repealing 50-a as far back as 2014, calling it a “loophole” in Freedom of Information Law. It took huge street demonstrations and a massive, prolonged public call for police accountability to get 50-a repealed by the legislature. But the public and legislature have spoken and the Governor must sign this important transparency measure.
We congratulate the sponsors, and especially thank the many thousands of people who marched day after day demanding real police accountability.
Citizens Union of the City of New York
Common Cause of New York
League of Women Voters of New York State
New York News Publishers Association