In a Historic Victory, Governor Cuomo Signs Repeal of 50-A Into Law

New York took one step forward in addressing police violence in our communities.

06.09.20 By Innocence Staff

Photo of Senator Zellnor Myrie hugging Senator Jamaal T. Bailey after voting in favor of repealing 50-A. Photo courtesy of NY Senate Media Services Office.

Photo of Senator Zellnor Myrie hugging Senator Jamaal T. Bailey after voting in favor of repealing 50-A. Photo courtesy of NY Senate Media Services Office.

Updated: Friday, June 12 at 3:12 PM ET. 

On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the repeal of 50-a into law, the bill that passed the legislature on Tuesday which up until now has allowed law enforcement to shield police misconduct records from the public. These disciplinary records will now be publicly disclosed, increasing systemic accountability through transparency and taking New York one step forward to addressing police violence in our communities.


Over the last eight years, the grassroots advocacy campaign to end police secrecy and repeal 50-a has been led by Communities United for Police Reform and includes families impacted by police brutality. The Innocence Project is proud to be a part of this effort to establish much-needed transparency of police misconduct, and in turn prevent further racial injustice and wrongful convictions in New York. We applaud the series of criminal justice reforms that were signed by Gov. Cuomo along with 50-a today, which can begin to help address the deep rooted racism and of abuse of power that runs rampant in our criminal justice system. 


“This is an enormous step forward for police accountability in New York State. At a time when New Yorkers have taken to the streets in the midst of a global pandemic to voice the need for police accountability and racial justice, this is a welcome development,” said Rebecca Brown, policy director for the Innocence Project. “It is our strong hope that now that the veil that had shielded police misconduct from public view has been lifted, countless injustices, including wrongful convictions, can be prevented. This is only one ingredient of authentic accountability but it is the first, crucial step, in bringing some justice to a system that previously prevented it.”


The recent death of George Floyd and worldwide uprising has underscored the need and demand for police misconduct to be made public record. It has been widely reported that Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed Floyd in Minneapolis was later found to have had 18 complaints previously filed against him, including the use of excessive force and violence. In addition, one of the other officers charged who stood by as Floyd cried out for help but did not intervene also had numerous complaints lodged against him.

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Debra Turiano September 25, 2020 at 8:36 pm Reply   

The police officers who hide behind the law and use it to brutilize now must answer for it. I can’t help but think that if they can’t hide behind a badge they could be worse criminals on the streets themselves than some they have arrested and brutilized !!!

Peter Rini July 6, 2020 at 1:49 pm Reply   

Thank you for the courage to stand up for what’s right, Governor Cuomo. Your leadership throughout the pandemic and now, throughout this seismic shift in societal thinking, has been a beacon for us all. Would our Federal Gov’t take a page from your book.

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