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Communities United for Police Reform Condemns Police Union’s Request for Injunction in Attempt to Reverse 50-a Repeal

New York, NY -- Today, a federal hearing was held regarding the police unions’ request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the City of New York from publishing officer misconduct databases, following the repeal of New York’s police secrecy law, “50-a”. Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) moved to intervene in the federal litigation in late July and submitted papers opposing the police unions’ preliminary injunction request. CPR was joined by a diverse array of stakeholders - including national civil rights groups, advocates for survivors of police gender-based violence and brutality, law enforcement, the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Caucus, the NYC Council Progressive Caucus, good government organizations, media organizations, legal groups, and former Civilian Complaint Review Board employees - who submitted a dozen amicus briefs to the court on Friday, August 14, opposing the police unions’ request. U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Polk Failla is expected to issue a decision on the preliminary injunction request this week.

“Following today’s hearing, we hope the court will dismiss the baseless police unions’ request for a preliminary injunction seeking to block the City from publishing officer misconduct databases,” said Anthonine Pierre, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform.  “The police unions want to use the courts and their outsized financial resources to undermine the will of New Yorkers and the democratically-elected state legislature by trying to keep the majority of police misconduct and discipline records hidden from public view. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers marched, protested, and organized throughout New York state for police transparency, accountability, and the repeal of NY’s notorious police secrecy law, “50-a”. The court’s decision will play a crucial role in our ongoing fight to put in place a system where police are held accountable for their actions and New Yorkers do not live in fear. CPR led the historic campaign to #Repeal50a, and we will continue to push back against the police unions’ attempts to roll back this important victory for transparency, accountability, and democracy.” 


In June, the New York State legislature passed - and Governor Cuomo signed - the historic repeal of 50-a, the infamous police secrecy law that was used by police departments to hide police misconduct and discipline from the public. Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) led the statewide coalition and campaign that won #Repeal50a.

In July, CPR, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit brought by five New York City police unions, as well as corrections and firefighter unions, earlier in the month. The police unions seek to block New York City (NYC) from publishing databases of officer misconduct and discipline information and to roll back the repeal of 50-a. On July 22, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order, temporarily blocking the release of the databases.

CPR held a rally in Foley Square in downtown Manhattan before today’s federal hearing to condemn the police unions’ attempt to re-entrench police secrecy and roll back #Repeal50a. The rally featured diverse stakeholders all vehemently opposing the police unions’ request for a preliminary injunction, with representatives from CPR in attendance, as well as: 

  • Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, who was killed by the NYPD in 2011;
  • New York State (NYS) Senator Jamaal Bailey, NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian Caucus, Chair of Senate Codes Committee and #Repeal50a lead sponsor; 
  • NYS Senator Julia Salazar; 
  • NYC Councilmember Ben Kallos; 
  • Deputy Public Advocate Nick Smith, representing the office of NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams;
  • Susan Lerner, Executive Director, Common Cause; 
  • Yul-san Liem, Co-Director, Justice Committee; 
  • Janos Marton, former staff of NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board; 
  • Lucy Lang, Law Enforcement Action Partnership; and
  • Molly Griffard, Legal Aid Society.  

The amicus briefs opposing the preliminary injunction were filed by the following - and links to the briefs can be found here:  

  • NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Law for Black Lives;
  • Girls for Gender Equity and Transgender Law Center; 
  • Justice Committee; 
  • New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian Caucus; 
  • New York City Council Progressive Caucus; 
  • Law Enforcement Action Partnership; 
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 31 media organizations;
  • Common Cause, Reinvent Albany, Citizens Union, and Beta NYC; 
  • New York Civil Liberties Union; 
  • Legal Aid Society; 
  • NYU Center for Race, Inequality and the Law; and
  • Former Counsels & Investigators from the Civilian Complaint Review Board.


About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

Topics: Repeal 50-A