Judge halts release of NY police disciplinary records

Jul 23, 2020

A federal judge has halted the public release of police officer disciplinary records in New York, temporarily turning back a state transparency law enacted in the wake of George Floyd's death.

In June, the governor signed into law a repealing a provision in New York's Civil Rights law known as 50-a, which has been used to shield police disciplinary records from the public. Advocates said the law had defeated the Freedom of Information Law's goal of transparency and accountability, but law enforcement unions and GOP senators said it unfairly singles out officers for scrutiny that other public servants don’t face.

Judge Katherine Polk Failla granted a temporary restraining order late Wednesday barring police departments and other entities in the state from disclosing discipline records until at least Aug. 18, when she will hear arguments in a union lawsuit challenging their release.

A lawyer for New York City's police watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, said it is confident the city will prevail.

WBFO Albany Correspondent Karen Dewitt contributed to this story.