Towards Justice for Victims: 10 New Police Reform Bills Passed

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week, the Assembly along with the Senate passed 10 new police reforms, and I'm proud to have voted yes on all. The people across all 50 states have risen to protest police brutality and to demand justice for the black lives taken at the hands of the police.

Their names have been spoken along the streets of all of our communities – the names of black lives who were victims of institutional, systemic anti-blackness, white supremacy, and police violence. We say their names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tony McDade, Ramarley Graham, Sandra Bland, Rayshard Brooks, Michael Brown, Dontay Ivy, Darnisha Harris, Ezell Ford, Emmett Till – the list continues.

10 Reforms to Policing and the Criminal Legal System

We in the Assembly advanced legislation to begin to dismantle the privileges, protections, and tools that have allowed NY police departments to operate with impunity and without public accountability and scrutiny. The 10 bills we passed repeals secrecy and implements better tools to hold police accountable.

Repeal of Section 50a: Internal police personnel disciplinary records will now be public.

Attorney General's Office of Special Investigation: Creation of new office empowered to investigate any death of a person caused by a law enforcement officer.

Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act: Codifies the prohibition of the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers and classifies such use as a crime of aggravated strangulation under a Class-C felony.

Right to Monitor Act: Recording police interactions is not about agitation, it is about transparency and ensuring that officers, as public servants, are accountable to the public.

Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office: established the office empowered to review, study, and make recommendations regarding operations, policies, programs and practices of law enforcement agencies.

Police STAT Act: Data and transparency on policing activities at a statewide level broken down by race, ethnicity, age and more is a necessary tool to challenge the systemic nature of police violence on black communities and communities of color.

9-1-1 Nuisance Calls: False emergency calls are a threat to public safety and to the lives of black people and people of color--this bill addresses instances when individuals or groups of individuals, motivated by bias, make a false report of a crime.

Medical & Health Attention: Affirms right to medical and mental health attention while in custody.

Body Cameras for NYS Police: All state police officers while on patrol must use body-worn cameras; provides the preservation of body-worn camera footage; provides AG to investigate any instance where body cameras fail to record.

Reporting of Police Shootings: To increase transparency, and ensure loopholes are not used to escape accountability, we will write into law that officers, on or off duty, must report any discharges of their weapons.

For my extended remarks on the bills passed, including Repeal 50a

Watch Here

Governor Cuomo has signed Repeal 50a into law, along with Medical & Health Attention and Reporting of Police Shootings. The people of New York demand to see all bills signed into law, and we will continue our advocacy as the lawmakers of these bills to see them into law.

This is among the first sweeping legislative actions taken in New York as a direct response to the mass protests nationwide - but the work does not stop here. Rather, it marks an advancement towards fundamental change that challenge the institutional character of anti-blackness, white supremacy, and police violence.