NYC police unions drop suit challenging discipline records
The unions had sought to block Gov. Cuomo’s repeal of a law that concealed disciplinary records
By Stephen Rex Brown
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Police reform advocates declared victory Tuesday after unions moved to formally withdraw a lawsuit challenging disclosure of disciplinary records.
The end of the suit brought by unions repping police officers, firefighters and correction officers was expected following a ruling by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the city to release the records.
“This is a big win against police unions’ baseless fearmongering, definitively closing the door on their attempt to use the courts to overturn the will of New Yorkers after last summer’s repeal of New York’s infamous police secrecy law,” said Joo-Hyun Kang, director of Communities United for Police Reform.
The city law Department declined to comment. Calls to police unions were not returned. A judge must sign off on the agreement to withdraw the suit.
The unions had sought to block Gov. Cuomo’s repeal in June 2020 of 50-a, a state law that shrouded disciplinary records in secrecy. Critics argued the law prevented bad cops from being held accountable.
“Many other states make similar misconduct records at least partially available to the public without any evidence of a resulting increase of danger to police officers,” the 2nd Circuit ruled in February, dismissing the unions’ arguments for keeping the records under wraps.
The decision paved the way for disclosure of tens of thousands of records held by the NYPD watchdog Civilian Complaint Review Board, as well as records from NYPD departmental trials.
Kang said there are additional types of disciplinary documents that still need to be made public.
“Now that this chapter of the police unions’ failed legal games has closed, it’s time for Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to publish all police misconduct and discipline records instead of the tiny sliver they’ve put in their database. We also need to make sure that the de Blasio administration doesn’t enter into agreements with the police unions behind closed doors to hide certain classes of misconduct and discipline records,” she said.
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