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Police Accountability Groups & Elected Officials Urge the New York State Legislature to Pass the #SaferNYAct and Repeal NY's Police Secrecy Law

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), groups from the Safer NY Act coalition and New York elected officials gathered in Albany and called on legislators and Governor Cuomo to pass the Safer NY Act, a package that includes a bill to repeal 50-a (New York’s harmful police secrecy law), a bill to increase transparency of police interactions (including reporting on total deaths in police incidents statewide), a bill to strengthen the Special Prosecutor Executive Order, and marijuana legalization within a racial justice framework.
The organizations, which are part of the growing Safer NY Act statewide coalition of over 100 organizations, gathered outside the Senate chambers and shared how the #SaferNYAct is an essential step towards comprehensive criminal justice reform. They were joined by Assemblymembers including Nick Perry, Joe Lentol, Danny O’Donnell, Mike Blake, Al Taylor, Felix Ortiz and Dan Quart. Safer NY Act members in Albany today, meeting with legislators on the Safer NY Act includeCommunities United for Police Reform, Arab American Association of New York, Bronx Defenders, Faith in New York, FIERCE, the Gathering for Justice/Justice League NYC, Girls for Gender Equity, Legal Aid Society, NYCLU, Showing Up for Racial Justice/NYC Chapter, and VOCAL-NY
Quadira Coles, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR):
“Abusive and discriminatory policing is the front-end of a racist criminal legal system, driving criminalization of communities of color, mass incarceration, immigrant detentions and deportations. It's time for legislators to repeal the police secrecy law 50a and pass other crucial bills in the #SaferNYAct package to help protect New Yorkers from abusive policing."
Michael Sisitzky, Lead Policy Counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union:
"There is deep-seated mistrust between many New Yorkers of color and their local police departments, owing to decades of harassment, killings, and other misconduct. These injustices have been made even worse by laws that allow police departments to operate under a shield of secrecy and with little accountability for their actions. Through the Safer NY Act, we can usher in a new system that will lift the curtain that police departments operate behind and create a system that actually holds officers accountable for their wrongdoing."
Charlotte Pope, Deputy Director of Policy at Girls for Gender Equity:
"Every day, police surveil, harass and dehumanize girls, young women, and LGBQ/TGNC youth of color in their schools and communities with little public consequence or opportunity for relief," said Charlotte Pope, Deputy Director of Policy at Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). "GGE urges the legislature to pass the Safer New York Act and commit to alleviating many of the routine harms of policing experienced by young people across the state."
Senator Jamaal Bailey, lead Senate sponsor of the bill to repeal 50-a:
“Passing the #SaferNYact is essential for transparency, accountability and trust with the communities our officers are sworn to protect and serve. Section 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Law bars the disclosure of personnel records when officers are facing serious and credible allegations of violence, misconduct, and abuse.  I support a full repeal of section 50-a and all the bills in this package.
Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, lead Assembly sponsor of the bill to repeal 50-a:
“The SaferNY package of bills is incredibly important to enhancing transparency, ensuring justice, and promoting fairness in our state. I’m proud to sponsor the bill to fully repeal Section 50-a, a law whose recent interpretations by the courts have rendered it unrecognizable, even to its original author. Section 50-a’s shielding of disciplinary records only serves to erode community trust and make interactions between public servants and the public secret. I know our coalition of elected officials, former law enforcement officers, grassroots organizations like Communities United for Police Reform, and activists has been key to advancing this legislation, and I thank them all.”
Assemblyman Nick Perry, lead sponsor of legislation to codify & strengthen the Office of the Special Prosecutor:
“There should be no untouchables in the search for truth.  No one should be immune to accountability and transparency in executing the awesome power and authority that comes with law enforcement positions.  With that said, there is an unquestionable need to codify and strengthen the office of the Special Prosecutor to ensure that New Yorkers, be they black or white, rich or poor, young or old, feel some reasonable level of assurance that every life is valuable and that every New Yorker is fully entitled to the protection of their rights when they have an encounter with the police.”
Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Assembly lead sponsor of the Police STAT Act:
“By collecting and publicly sharing policing data from across the state, as required by the STAT Act, the criminal justice system will be greatly improved and modernized.  Such transparency will ensure accountability, justice and safety for all New Yorkers.  This is a critically important piece of legislation and I will continue to fight for its passage.“ 
Senator Gustavo Rivera:
“It is clear we need to implement drastic changes in how law enforcement interacts with the communities they are tasked to protect. To efficiently repair our broken system, we must reform policies that are making our system unjust,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “The Safer NY Act, which includes measures such as the Police Stat Act, the repeal of 50-a, and the strengthening of the office of the Special Prosecutor, will increase transparency and accountability around police practices, which will consequently improve police-community relations throughout our State.”
Assemblyman Dan Quart:
“In the midterm elections, New Yorkers voted to expand the powers of the Civilian Complaint Review Board,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart. “For much too long the NYPD has responded to any and all demands for transparency with contempt, creating an environment where police misconduct is enabled and subsequently covered up. It’s time to say no more.
The Safer NY Act is a package of bills in the New York State Legislature that would help increase police transparency and accountability.  The Safer NY Act includes:
  • Repeal of 50-a (A2513-O’Donnell/S3695-Bailey)  
  • PoliceSTAT Act (A-Lentol/S1830A-Hoylman) requiring statewide reporting on policing of minor offenses and deaths in police custody;
  • Strengthening and expanding the Special Prosecutor Executive Order (A1601-Perry/S2574-Bailey);  
  • Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (A1617-Peoples-Stokes/S1527-Krueger), which would legalize marijuana under a marijuana justice framework.



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: Police STAT Act Repeal 50-A Safer NY Act Special Prosecutor