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PBA Shield

John Nuthall


December 24, 2018

PBA President fights to preserve Civil Rights Law 50 a

PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said: 

“These advocates are intentionally misleading lawmakers about the nature of Civil Rights Law 50-a. Far from being the ‘most regressive’ law of its kind in the nation, it is on par with 23 states plus the District of Columbia that protect these records from public disclosure under most circumstances. 

“Additionally, the many agencies charged with overseeing the actions of police officers including district attorneys and civilian review boards, to name just two, have full and complete access to personnel records. 

“The law was created for two reasons that are as valid today as they were when it was signed into law.  First, to prevent unscrupulous defense attorneys from abusing access to those records in order to win acquittals for criminals who prey on the public. Second, the law protects the personnel records of police officers in order to prevent criminals from identifying and locating those officers in order to extract revenge for their arrest. 

“Both reasons are in the public’s best interest.  We don’t want criminals escaping justice through court room trickery nor can we expect police officers to risk their lives without at least a minimal amount of personal protection for them.  Amending or repealing the law will have devastating effects on public safety and on the safety of all law enforcement officers throughout New York State.”

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The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York (PBA) is the largest municipal police union in the nation and represents nearly 50,000 active and retired NYC police officers.