(19. April 2018)
For instance, the public has a clear interest in knowing that at least 319 NYPD employees were allowed to keep their jobs, even after committing offenses that NYPD leaders have always assured us were fireable. Those pushing for more police in schools in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, might want to know that three school safety officers found guilty of using excessive force against students were punished with just five lost vacation days. And anyone concerned about false information leading to wrongful convictions might like to know that more than 100 employees accused of “lying on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation” were punished with as little as a few days of lost vacation.
Much of this information would have been made publicly available up until recently. But in 2016 the NYPD suddenly decided, after decades of posting so-called police “personnel orders,” that doing so violated section 50-a of the New York State Civil Rights Law, which limits the release of certain police personnel records.
In New York, which has one of the strictest laws in the country protecting the privacy of law enforcement officers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo surprised advocates this week when he expressed support for repealing 50-a, despite the fact that the legislation has been hotly debated during the nine years he has been in office. “I would sign a bill today that reforms 50-a,” Cuomo said. “I would sign it today.” De Blasio has defended 50-a, and under his administration the city has stopped making the outcomes of internal disciplinary reviews available to the public.