NYPD Still Hides Officer Disciplinary Files Despite New Law, ACLU Says


NEW YORK – The New York branch of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the New York City Police Department on Thursday, saying it was illegally keeping the vast majority of officers’ disciplinary records out of public view.

The New York Civil Liberties Union said in the Manhattan State Court lawsuit that the NYPD publicly disclosed only a fraction of the misconduct records that should be public after last year’s repeal of the decades-old state law that kept them secret.

In March, the police department began posting final disciplinary decisions on its website, while keeping other information secret, such as complaints about officers and disciplinary matters that did not lead to punishment, the organization said.

The NYCLU said it filed a complaint after the NYPD denied his request under the state’s public records law to access all of the department’s databases containing records of officer misconduct and discipline.

“The NYPD has by no means entered a new era of transparency by disclosing only those misconduct complaints that they themselves deem worthy of prosecution,” said NYCLU attorney Lupe Aguirre.

The NYPD said in a statement that last year’s repeal of the secrecy law, known as 50-a, “does not mean the department is now required to release all personnel information. “.

The department said it rushed to upload a first wave of data in the spring and that older records and less serious violations were “being scanned and formatted and would be added over time.” . All files, he said, are subject to legal reviews and deletions by law.

The NYPD, in its statement, did not respond to NYCLU’s main complaint: that the police department violates public records and transparency laws by picking and choosing what records are released and when.

“There is no other agency within city government that provides this breadth or depth of information about their employees publicly available,” the NYPD said in its statement.

In August 2020, the NYCLU released data on complaints against over 81,000 current and former NYPD agents after winning a battle with public security unions who sought to keep the files secret.

It obtained from data from the city’s police oversight agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The NYPD, meanwhile, has found other ways to deny public record requests for disciplinary information. Over the summer, he declined to release files on Eric Adams, a retired police captain turned politician who is the Democratic candidate for mayor.

The police department cited a ” unjustified invasion of privacy By denying an Associated Press request for documents relating to another officer.

After a reporter pointed out such denial on Twitter, the ministry said it had done it “by mistake” and subsequently provided information on several requested complaints.

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