ECC Campaign for Police Transparency & Legislative Equity

 

Fostering Young People's Civic Engagement for Social Equity

Update: On June 10, 2020, New York Legislature in a historical vote, decided to repeal state law 50-a, bringing transparency the police force and marking a milestone in our fight for minority equity

1. The Social Ramifications of NY State Law 50-a

 

Credit: Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York State Law 50-a is a part of the New York Civil Rights Law that regards police officers' “personnel records” as “confidential and not subject to inspection or review” without the officer’s permission. Though passed in the 1970s with the intention of protecting "officers who testified in court," 50-a has become "one of the strongest police secrecy laws " in the United States. For decades, this law has been utilized to enable members of the police and their departments to avoid public scrutiny when accused of misconduct, exempting officers from transparency standards applied to other public officials.

The consequent lack of accountability and transparency have been felt disproportionally by minorities, such as African-Americans. Eric Gardner, an unarmed African-American, died after a New York police officer, put him in a chokehold while arresting him; this officer already had 4 substantiated allegations of abuse against him prior to this tragedy. The general public only learned of these complaints after they were leaked. Ramarley Graham, an 18-year-old unarmed African-American, was fatally shot in his own home by a New York police officer. Leaked police records later revealed that this officer, Richard Haste, had an unusually high number of complaints against him. 

2. ECC Campaign to End 50-a by Fostering Young People's Civic Engagement

On May 25, 2020, the police brutality that killed African-American George Floyd once again showed the world the necessity of keeping the police accountable and transparent. The East Coast Coalition for Tolerance and Non-Discrimination stands together with the African Americans in this fight for social inclusion and equity. This is our fight. On May 26t, 2020, ECC launched our campaign to abolish New York State Law 50-a.

Update: As of June 5, 2020, ECC has mobilized members to make 4235 calls and emails to New York State Senators and Assembly members. We have also completed our first round of online "salons" that inform citizens of the historical background and social implication of 50-a, thereby raising public awareness against this unjust law. 

In July, 2o2o, after the repeal of 50-a, New York University's official magazine, Meet NYU, featured ECC's "Repeal 50-a Campaign on its front page.

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