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|Governor Cuomo Signs 'Say Their Name' Reform Agenda Package
June 12, 2020 05:00 p.m.
Governor Cuomo Signs 'Say Their Name' Reform Agenda Package
Reforms Include Repealing 50-a; Banning Chokeholds; Prohibiting Race-Based
911 Calls; and Appointing Attorney General as Independent Prosecutor for
Police Involved Deaths
Reform Agenda to Reduce Inequality and Reimagine the State's Criminal
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed the 'Say Their Name' Reform Agenda
package following the killing of George Floyd and an ongoing pattern of police
brutality against minority communities across the nation. These landmark policing
reforms will help reduce inequality in policing and reimagine the state's criminal
justice system. The reforms include:
"The murder of George Floyd was just the tipping point of the systemic injustice
and discrimination that has been going on in our nation for decades, if not
centuries," Governor Cuomo said. "These are issues that the country has been
talking about for a long time, and these nation-leading reforms will make long
overdue changes to our policing and criminal justice systems while helping to
restore community confidence in law enforcement. I want to applaud Senator
Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie and the bill sponsors for working
through these tough issues and for their fast action. New York State is the
progressive capital. We never sit back and say just what the nation should do -
we show the nation what it should do, and we did that again today."
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "The horrific murder of
George Floyd, the most recent in a long list of innocent people like Breonna
Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, and so many more, has led
to a rightful outpouring of grief and anger. Black New Yorkers, like all residents of
this state, deserve to know that their rights, and lives, are valued and protected
by our justice system. The legislation that will be signed today will help stop bad
actors and send a clear message that brutality, racism, and unjustified killings will
not be tolerated."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "The tragic deaths of George Floyd,
Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham and so many others shake us to
the core. This week, my colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority answered the
call of New Yorkers by passing historic reforms to our law enforcement system.
These reforms have been championed by our members for years, and I want to
thank my colleagues for their tireless commitment to seeing them through to the
finish line. I would also like to thank the families of the victims and the passionate
advocates who never tired in this fight for justice. They have courageously
channeled their grief into a positive force for change and inspired us to deliver
meaningful reforms here in New York."
Repealing 50-a (S.8496/A.10611)
privacy for the personnel records of police officers, correction officers, and
firefighters and paramedics employed by the State or political subdivisions. The
current law prevents access to both records of the disciplinary proceedings
themselves and the recommendations or outcomes of those proceedings, leading
to records of complaints or findings of law enforcement misconduct that did not
result in criminal charges against an officer almost entirely inaccessible to the
Repealing 50-a will allow for the disclosure of law enforcement disciplinary
records, increasing transparency and helping the public regain trust that law
enforcement officers and agencies may be held accountable for misconduct.
Banning Chokeholds (S.6670-B/ A.6144)
from using chokeholds, but the ban has not prevented police officers from using
this method to restrain individuals whom they are trying to arrest and the
continued use of chokeholds has resulted in too many deaths. This new law
creates criminal penalties when a police officer or peace officer uses a chokehold
or similar restraint and causes serious physical injury or death.
Prohibiting Race-Based 911 Calls (S.8492/A.1531)
the callers' personal discomfort with other people and not for any particular
threat. This new law makes it a civil rights violation to call 911 to report a non-
emergency incident involving a member of a protected class without reason to
suspect a crime or an imminent threat.
Appointing Attorney General as Independent Prosecutor for Police
Involved Deaths (S.2574-C/A.1601)
the Attorney General to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases
where the death of a person follows an encounter with a law enforcement officer.
The law also requires the new Office of Special Investigation to produce a report
explaining the reasons for its decision regardless of whether it chooses to pursue
charges. This will help improve public confidence in the criminal justice system
by removing a potential conflict of interest in these types of investigations. This
law builds on the Governor's Executive Order No. 147 from 2015 which
established the Attorney General as an independent prosecutor in instances of