New York officer misconduct and disciplinary materials
On Friday, June 12, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill repealing Section 50-a of the state’s Civil Right law, which had previously been used to prevent the disclosure of police office misconduct allegations and investigations.
On Monday, June 15, MuckRock — with support from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information and legal assistance from the Law Offices of Cory Morris — began sending Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to every police department in the state to prevent the destruction of these records and demand the release of all disciplinary records.
Six months after the repeal of 50-a, NY police continue to combat the release of disciplinary records
MuckRock has partnered with the USA TODAY Network New York, the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information and Syracuse University journalism students to file more than 600 records requests with more than 400 police agencies in hopes of creating a searchable, first-of-its-kind database with disciplinary records from across the state.
Though there are still many open questions about the effect of 50-a’s repeal on problematic police officer transparency, it’s a development that highlights the value access can have for the integrity of the criminal justice system.
Complaints against Buffalo police officers and firefighters — regardless of whether they are unsubstantiated, pending, or involved in a confidential settlement — will remain subject to public disclosure, a New York judge ruled Tuesday.