“Gov. Cuomo, you have a unique opportunity to catch New York up to the rest of the country on the issue of police transparency and accountability,” the groups wrote on Monday.
“We urge you to support a full statewide repeal of 50-a in your State of the State address and work with the Legislature to end officially sanctioned secrecy for police misconduct.”
The NYPD decided in 2016 that section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law requires the department to keep records of disciplinary proceedings secret — reversing its decades-long practice of releasing the outcomes.
The Legal Aid Society and the New York Civil Liberties Union lost court challenges to the Police Department’s interpretation of the law.
The advocacy groups, which include the NYCLU, the Legal Aid Society, the Innocence Project and several other public defender and civil rights organizations, reject the idea of a partial repeal.
“Mere tweaks to a law designed to shield police misconduct from public transparency will be harmful and counterproductive,” they wrote.
The city’s police unions have argued that repealing 50-a would endanger law enforcement.
“Repealing Civil Rights Law Section 50-A would put New York dead last among all 50 states in protecting police officers’ confidential personnel information,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said Tuesday. “It would give criminals and their activist allies a free pass to harass and demonize police officers in order to escape justice.”