Late yesterday, both houses of the New York State legislature passed a bill to repeal Section 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Law, which had previously shielded the disciplinary records of New York police officers from the public. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign it this week.
Senator Zellnor Myrie, who represents neighborhoods of Brownsville, Crown Heights, spoke passionately explaining his vote, about how much of police brutality has been allowed to go undisciplined.
“Today, I voted aye to #Repeal50A for all of the families who have lost their loved ones to police brutality, for the thousands of NYers who have taken to the streets and have said enough is enough and because it is the right thing to do. 44 years before I was born: Palmer Anderson, Charles Ferguson, Samuel Symonette, John Derrick, Jacob Jackson, James Powell, Thessolonia Cutler, Barbara Barksdale, Michael Stewart, Eleanor Bumpurs.
As a child + teen: Anthony Baez, Anthony Rosario, Hilton Vega, Kevin Cedeno. The rest of my teenage years and into my adulthood, I saw unarmed person being brutalized after unarmed person being brutalized: Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, George Floyd, and many more. Eleven days ago, I put on a neon green tshirt with my name and title on the back, and walked to the Barclays Center not just as a State Senator but as a black man who has grown up in this country and has seen brutality have no consequence for my people.
I was not met with open arms. I was pushed, shoved, and hit in the back. I was pepper sprayed and handcuffed. We are tired because there have been no consequences for the brutality against our people.
To this day, I don’t know if the officer that pepper sprayed me and my colleague in the Assembly (@YourFavoriteASW) has a history of excessive use of force.
That is what this bill is about.
It is about the history. We have seen the brutality go unanswered. This isn’t an attack, this is accountability. This isn’t targeting, this is transparency. This isn’t anti-police, this is pro-people.
Listen to the New Yorkers who have taken to the streets. Listen to what they are saying.
My life matters. #BlackLivesMatter. Repealing 50A and the other reforms this majority will pass hopefully will send a message that we mean that when we say it.”
Here’s what other Brooklyn State legislators had to say: