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LAS Calls for Open Database of Police Misconduct Records

Molly Griffard – Legal Fellow at the Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project – appeared on the Capitol Pressroom to discuss the recent repeal of 50-a, what had essentially amounted to a secrecy law that had been use to shield NYPD officers from the consequences of their misconduct. The repeal was passed by an overwhelming majority last week and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, heralding a new era of transparency where substantiated instances of misbehavior, disciplinary records, and internal reviews will be made available by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Nevertheless, The Legal Aid Society plans to continue pressing City Hall for even greater openness where these records are concerned, as the fulfillment of FOIA requests undergo a review process that can make them both time-consuming and subject to being declined. A potential solution would be a searchable database of all disciplinary records that would eliminate the FOIA request step and allow even greater transparency.

“The Legal Aid Society is calling on New York city’s government [to] take proactive steps to actually disclose these records that we know the public is asking for,” said Gerard, “and make [them] available in an easily-accessible format to avoid this hyper-technical and slow bureaucratic process.”