Joint Statement from The Legal Aid Society and CPR on City’s Volatile Interpretation of 50A

City Abruptly Invokes 50A at James Blake Trial, Kicks the public (including CPR members) out of Hearing Room

The Legal Aid Society and Communities for Police Reform (CPR) issued the following statement today criticizing the City’s volatile interpretation of 50a – current law that New York City Police Department (NYPD) contends restricts officers’ disciplinary records from public release. The joint statement specifically comes in response to yesterday’s Department trial for Officer James Frascator where an NYPD administrative law judge allowed 50a to be invoked to protect a retired officer who was testifying as an expert witness from answering pertinent questions about his own disciplinary history. The Judge then forced the public to leave and closed the courtroom. This is the first time the Department has cited 50A to close a Department trial from the public.


NYT: At James Blake Trial, Judge Invokes Law Shielding Police Records

“Yesterday was another example of the City’s dangerously broad mis-interpretation and abusive invocation of 50a that changes by the moment. This Administration shouldn’t have carte blanche to manipulate laws when it’s convenient just to save face. Despite pledges of reform, City Hall has yet to move the needle in a significant way to bring much needed accountability and transparency to the NYPD. Until this happens, trust will never form between communities of colors and others historically oppressed by aggressive over-policing, and the Department. We call on the City Council to hold an immediate oversight hearing scrutinizing the volatile use of 50a that will only continue to protect abusive officers, while eroding reform efforts and improved relations with the NYPD and neighborhoods it serves.”

About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and policing practices based on cooperation and respect– not discriminatory targeting and harassment.

CPR brings together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those unfairly targeted the most by the NYPD. CPR is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers.

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