Until last week New York police officers who committed misconduct or abuse had their disciplinary reports kept secret from the public. It is not the case anymore. Governor Cuomo signed a bill on Friday to immediately repeal provision 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Law that was shielding police officers, correction officers or firefighters with a history of misconduct from public accountability. Some elements such as the address of the police officer as well as his phone number and medical history will not be made public for understandable reasons.
I Can’t Breath
The repeal of 50-a is following major protests not only in NY but across the nation against police brutality toward black people and systematic racism and injustice. On May 25th, the murder of Georges Floyd caught on video and showing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes while he was begging him to stop and telling him he couldn’t breath, started nationwide protests that are still going one as today.
In New York police brutality against black men is also rampant. From Amadou Diallo shot at 41 times by the police and whose family was represented by our firm to Eric Garner who died in Staten Island, NYC, after a policeman put him in a choke hold until he died, black men in New York are suffering daily from racial profiling by the police.
The bill signed by Cuomo also banned police choke holds. From now on any police officers who uses a choke hold or “commits the crime of criminal obstruction of breathing,” can be punished by a Class C felony. The mother mother of Eric Gartner, Gwen Carr, was standing next to Cuomo when he signed the Bill. She had to wait almost six years since her son was killed for the police choke hold to be finally banned.
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Picture of protest against police brutality: courtesy of Wikipedia