NEW YORK — In a set back for the community, a group of federal judges has put a temporary hold on the repeal of 50A, which stopped the city from releasing disciplinary records of police officers, fire fighters and correction officers.
Dr. Robert Gonzalez, a criminal justice professor at St. John’s University, said it’s stopping a move that had already been lauded by New Yorkers.
”What the judge has done is put a halt on a process that the community was already celebrating and considering a victory,” he said.
The decision came after the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from police unions that believe releasing the personnel records of public servants is dangerous so they filed a lawsuit. This decision buys the unions some time.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the coalition of unions said, “The battle to defend and protect public sector workers’ rights to due process continues.”
Months of protests in the city against 50A, a law that kept the personnel files of public servants private for decades, led Gov. Andrew Cuomo to repeal it.
However, since the governor signed off on changing the law, unions have been fighting his decision in court.
This latest ruling is not only a setback to Sean Bell’s mother, but it’s an insult. she said.
Bell was killed by NYPD officers almost 14 years ago.
Valerie Bell said, “We’ve worked very hard for this 50A repeal to come out again, for police officers, for firemen, for correction officers, so for them to do this to us is very heartless, as I say — it’s unbelievable.”
The Civilian Complaint Review Board a watchdog group, that tracks and investigates complaints of police misconduct said in a statement, “Today’s ruling is a minor delay in our effort to deliver on the promise of 50-a repeal. We are confident the Second Circuit will deny the unions’ appeal on the merits, and that the City will ultimately prevail in its defense of transparency.”