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.
Right to Know Act
The Right To Know Act is a legislative package that aims to protect the civil and human rights of New Yorkers while promoting communication, transparency and accountability in everyday interactions between the NYPD and the public. New Yorkers want to live in a safe city where the police treat all residents with dignity and respect, and where police are not considered to be above the law.
NEW YORK — New York City cops have to give business cards to people they stop and ask for permission to perform certain searches starting Friday as two landmark police-reform laws take effect. The City Council passed the contentious pair of bills, known as the Right to Know Act, last December in an effort to protect New Yorkers' rights and improve police accountability.
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.
Public officials and police reform advocates pledged to hold the NYPD accountable for their encounters with the public as new legislation goes into effect Friday.
Holding signs and banners reading "I do not consent to this search," activists rallied on the steps of City Hall to celebrate the implementation of the Right to Know Act. The legislation has two components: a requirement for officers (in certain instances) to identify themselves when approaching the public, and a mandate to inform a person of their right to refuse to consent to a search when the officer doesn't have probable cause.