NY lawmakers push to expose police personnel records

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Members of the New York State Legislature are pushing to repeal a law that conceals personnel records for police officers, corrections officers and firefighters.

“50-a is harming me and my family, still, every day,” Gwen Carr testified.

Carr is the mother of Eric Garner. She gave testimony against Section 50-a of New York State Civil Rights law. Garner was killed in 2014 after an NYPD officer put him in a chokehold.

The current law blocks public access to disciplinary records for officers.

“The public needs this information,” Sean Bell’s mother, Valerie Bell, testified. “This is about public safety. Hiding this information means that officers who repeat offenders are allowed to keep their jobs – business as usual – and the violence continues.”

While some are advocating for a full repeal, the NYPD said while it “does not fear scrutiny,” the law should be amended instead. NYPD Assistant Deputy Commissioner Oleg Chernyavsky said that would “create a balance between officer safety, accountability and transparency.”

“An amended 50-a should allow the release of the complaint, allegations or charges, the transcript of the hearing, any written opinion and final disposition, and penalty at the conclusion of a disciplinary process for serious misconduct cases,” he said.

The NYPD is advocating that “minor misconduct” like uniform infraction or lateness continue to be held to 50-a protections.

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