Heralding New York as the progressive model of the nation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled new police reforms at his Friday press conference. He signaled his intent to sign bills just passed by the state legislature, including the repeal of 50-a, which since 1976 had kept hidden the disciplinary records of police officers. The legislation will also ban the use of chokeholds, allow the attorney general to appoint special prosecutors in certain incidents, and end false race-based 911 reports. He called them the "most aggressive reforms" in the nation in regards to police departments.
#BREAKING: I am signing into law nation-leading criminal justice & police reform bills — including legislation that ends 50-A & bans chokeholds.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 12, 2020
Thank you to @AndreaSCousins, @CarlHeastie & the Legislature for your partnership and fast action.
This is a historic moment for NY.
50-a is a section of New York law that let police, fire and corrections departments keep disciplinary and personnel records under wraps for all employees, the NY Daily News explains.
Gov. Cuomo added that he's launching an initiative called the NYS Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative and will sign an Executive Order which will mandate that local governments and police agencies "develop a plan that will reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs." He said he will not fund police agencies that do not enact these reforms.
"Police reform is long overdue," Cuomo said. "Mr. Floyd's murder is just the most recent murder. This is not just about Mr. Floyd's murder. It's about being here before. Many, many times before."
The governor said it's about about a long running "injustice against minorities in America by the criminal justice system."
"How many times do you have to see the same case before you do something?" he asked.
Police reform is also being debated on Capitol Hill. The Democrats offered the Justice and Policing Act, while Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is leading the charge on the GOP-led effort, the Justice Act Package.
Cuomo did not speak at length about the violence that has been aimed at police officers themselves the past few weeks as protests and riots have erupted across the state. Nearly 400 NYPD police officers have been injured in the unrest. A few NYPD officers were even run over a few weeks ago on an especially chaotic night in the city. Cuomo at one point actually blamed the NYPD for some of the violence, before walking it back.