Right To Know Act

About the Legislation

The Right To Know Act is a legislative package to protect the civil and human rights of New Yorkers in everyday encounters with the NYPD by improving transparency and accountability. It consists of two bills (Int. 182B & Int. 541A) that are endorsed by 200+ organizations, have majority support in the NYC Council and are awaiting a vote.

Int. 182B of the Right to Know Act would help end abuses in a range of non-emergency police encounters by requiring officers to identify themselves and explain the reason for the official interaction.

Int. 541A would help end deceptive and unconstitutional searches by requiring officers to explicitly convey a person’s right to refuse a search when their consent is the only legal justification, and obtain objective proof that a person gave informed and voluntary consent. 

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Communities Need Legislation

As policing abuses become increasingly enabled through the actions and rhetoric of the current presidential administration, it is imperative for local officials to take concrete actions to protect New Yorkers, like passing the Right to Know Act. Yet there has been an attempt to prevent a vote on the Right to Know Act by striking a private deal with the NYPD. The Right to Know Act was introduced in 2014 and has gone through the transparent, democratic legislative process, earning support from a majority of NYC Council members and over 200 organizations from across the city and nation.

The unwritten deal, not accessible to the public and stripped of meaningful changes, removed any reliable measures of police accountability and the most important protections of the Right to Know Act, including policies explicitly prioritized by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The public revelation of the deal only increased support for the Right to Know Act, with more organizations endorsing the legislation and additional council members becoming co-sponsors in support. See the differences between the Right to Know Act and the deal »

Right To Know Act News

Right to Know Act backers demand sponsors force vote on bills

New York Daily News

Backers of a pair of hotly contested police reform bills are demanding their sponsors force a vote on the legislation in the next three weeks.

Advocates pushed Councilmen Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso, the chief sponsors of the Right to Know Act, to use a tactic called a motion to discharge to force it to the floor by Nov. 16.

“We cannot wait any longer,” said Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who was killed by a police chokehold on Staten Island. “We need them to discharge these bills, and then we need them passed. And we can’t take no for an answer.”

Pass the "Right to Know" Act Now, Demand Families of People Killed by New York City Police


We're now several months into the Trump administration, and activists have scored some important victories in those months. Yet there is always more to be done, and for many people, the question of where to focus and how to help remains. In this series, we talk with organizers, agitators, and educators, not only about how to resist, but how to build a better world. Today's interview is the 82nd in the series. Click here for the most recent interview before this one.

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