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April 16, 2018, 9:02 PM

Leaked police disciplinary records posted amid privacy fight

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — BuzzFeed News has obtained and published a database of nearly 18,000 New York Police Department disciplinary findings amid a fight over whether city police disciplinary records should remain secret.

The digital media company published the leaked records of NYPD employees from between 2011 and 2015 on its website on Monday, saying there was an "overwhelming public interest" in the documents.

The database shows various offenses, from tardiness to excessive force. Penalties ranged from loss of vacation days to removal from the police department.

Police officials stopped providing NYPD disciplinary proceeding outcomes in 2016, though they had previously done so for decades.

The secrecy is the result of a state law protecting the privacy of officer disciplinary records, and a recent city decision to adhere to the confidentiality rules more closely — a move that puts America's largest police force at odds with a national movement to make law enforcement more transparent to the public.

Concerns over transparency of the NYPD's disciplinary system took hold after the city appealed a decision by a state court judge ordering the release of the records of Daniel Pantaleo, the officer accused of putting Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in 2014. A grand jury declined to indict the officer on criminal charges.

Since then, politicians and police reform activists have been pushing city officials for full disciplinary disclosure.

Recently, the city's police commissioner said he would begin releasing disciplinary reports with the offending officer's names redacted. A judge last week blocked that move after the city's largest police union filed an emergency request. A hearing is set for June.