NY Senate votes to repeal 50-a; Cuomo vows to sign the legislation
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently pledged to shift funding from the NYPD to youth and social services "in the course of the next three weeks," which was one day before democrats unveiled nationwide police reform legislation, and de Blasio also said he wants to make 50-a "as we knew it a thing of the past." The NY Daily News now reports that New York lawmakers in the senate voted to repeal 50-a:
As mass civil unrest over police brutality against African-Americans engulfs the nation, New York lawmakers in the senate took action Tuesday by voting to repeal 50-A, a state law used by police departments to shield disciplinary records.
The Democrat-led senate approved the long-stalled reform of the statute — which is routinely used to keep the public from learning about police misconduct and disciplinary actions taken against officers — in response to protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black Minnesota man killed by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck.
“The silver lining on this incredibly dark cloud is that the sun is finally starting to shine on injustice. Maybe it’s the unmistakable, and in my opinion disputable, video evidence that we saw a live murder on TV, but it’s done something to the consciousness of America,” said bill sponsor Sen. Jamaal Bailey (D-Bronx) in an emotional floor speech before the bill passed. “I don’t know if there could be a more meaningful piece of legislation for me and this body because it’s way more than just policy.
The Daily News adds that the bill passed in the Senate, 40-22, with all Republicans voting against it. You can read more here.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed to sign the legislation, and he says, "Don't dismiss this as an issue of the moment. 'Well this is just about Mr. Floyd's murder.' No it's not. This has been brewing for decades and decades and decades. It's not just about Mr. Floyd's murder. That was the tipping point. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. That's when it exploded but don't say this is when it started. This has been brewing for decades, if not centuries, in this nation. It is the anger and the repulsion at the systemic injustice and discrimination and racism that exists in this country. It's time for a real smart policy discussion, and a new model of policing."
To quote the NAACP, "50-a is a NYS statute that carves out unnecessary & harmful secrecy for police, fire and corrections. 50-a is routinely used to shield police misconduct and failed police disciplinary processes from public view."
For ways to help out in the fight against police brutality and racism, here are some resources.