New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken the lead on Friday by signing the “most aggressive” police reform legislative package in the nation some far in an effort to make officers more accountable and criminalizes chokeholds and other controversial restraints.
What We Know:
- The bills, which are opposed by some law enforcement unions, follows weeks of protests nationwide. Legislative efforts targeting police violence have taken hold nationally after the deaths of several African Americans at the hands of the police, including George Floyd.
- Additionally, Cuomo signed an executive order making state funding to police contingent on New York agencies developing a plan by April 1. It would be enacted into law after consultation with the community to “reinvent and modernize police strategies,” including use of force guidelines.
“The truth is this police reform is long overdue and Mr. Floyd’s murder is just the most recent murder,” Cuomo said Friday. “It’s not just about Mr. Floyd’s murder. It’s about being here before, many, many times before.”
- The bill amending the controversial law preventing disciplinary records for police officers, firefighters or corrections officers to be released without their written consent dates to 1976. The statute is known as Section 50-a of the New York State Civil Rights Law, which was enacted to exempt police officers from being cross-examined during criminal prosecutions, according to the bill.
- New York Police Department officials have acknowledged the need for more transparency. Powerful police unions, including the Police Benevolent Association, said the legislation reflected will result in unfair policies, according to CNN.
- The coalition said in a statement that it worried all police complaints, including those not fully investigated or substantiated, will be released. It says a judge already has discretion on releasing such records and there are concerns officers would not have a chance to be heard.
Another law signed by Cuomo addressed police use-of-force. All state police officers must now wear body cameras. Another law requires officers, within six hours, to report any time they discharge their weapon in which a person could have been hit.