ALBANY — Advocates and family members of New Yorkers killed by police are calling on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature to advance a full repeal of a state law that bars the release of disciplinary records of law enforcement officers.
In the Media
ALBANY — Citing the recent case in which officers ripped a baby from a woman’s arms while arresting her, the relatives of 16 people killed by police are seeking passage of a bill requiring the NYPD to publicly release officer disciplinary records.
When video was captured in 2014 of Staten Island resident Eric Garner dying with an NYPD officer’s arm wrapped around his neck, just months after the election of a progressive mayor promising a new day at the police department, it seemed like a watershed moment. The evidence was there for millions to see for themselves, across the city and country, and beyond. It seemed impossible that the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, would escape any accountability. But more than four years later there has been little beyond Pantaleo’s move to desk duty.
Law-enforcement agencies across the country have adopted aerial drones to map crime scenes, monitor large events and aid search-and-rescue operations. But the high-flying devices have also triggered backlash over fears they will be used to spy on law-abiding citizens.
On October 19th, the Right to Know Act (RTKA) was implemented as New York City law. This is a huge win for New Yorkers, especially the most impacted community members – those who are working class, undocumented, and face regular police abuse.
New York City recently took an important step toward police reform. The long-anticipated Right To Know Act has officially gone into effect, with important provisions dictating police-civilian encounters. The Act includes critical laws that will help end unconstitutional searches and require that police officers both identify themselves and provide the reason for an encounter – even leaving a business card in certain interactions.
In the 73rd precinct in Brownsville, reporting a crime goes like this: you step through a brick entryway into a cramped, dimly-lit room and you wait there, staring at a wall.
A set of double doors and a window break up the metal barrier, but red-lettered signs remind you that you aren’t allowed to go through. On the other side of the plexiglass, police dash around the station’s spacious interior. They pay little mind to the lobby, where the four plastic seats are often taken, leaving everyone else to stand on the stained linoleum.
The Right to Know Act, a significant piece of police reform legislation passed by the City Council last December, is set to go into effect Friday and advocates who hoped it would transform street interactions between New Yorkers and police officers are worried that the NYPD may not fully comply with the new law.
Starting Friday, New York City police officers must inform civilians of their right to refuse a search if an officer has no warrant or lacks reasonable suspicion of a crime. Officers will also be required to hand a business card to civilians who they stop to question, frisk, or search.
The New York Police Department ordered 10 million business cards that officers must hand out to people they stop on the street. The cards will include the officers’ names and ranks, and are required under the new Right to Know Act.