NY Senate, Assembly repeal 50-a law that protects police disciplinary records from public

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Police form a line on Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York.

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NEW YORK — Legislation to repeal New York’s Civil Rights Law 50-a, which shields police personnel and disciplinary records from being released publicly, was passed by both the the state Senate and Assembly Tuesday.

It now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The legislation in the Senate was approved 40-22.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he would sign any bill that reforms or repeals the existing law.

Civil Rights Law 50-a broadly prevents the release of “all personnel records” that are used to evaluate performance of police officers, firefighters and correction officers without a court order, unless the subject gives written permission.

Activists against police brutality and excessive force have argued that not releasing such information hinders the public’s ability to identify whether a police officer accused of wrongdoing has a history of inappropriate behavior.

The debate over 50-a was revived last week amid heated and sometimes violent clashes between officers and protesters across the state demonstrating against police brutality following George Floyd’s death during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25.

The repeal legislation is part of a sweeping package of police reform bills being considered by the state Legislature.

A funeral for Floyd was held Tuesday in Houston, Texas.

Four police officers involved in Floyd’s death have been fired and face criminal charges.

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