Joint Statement From NYC Public Defender Groups On Right To Know Act

The Legal Aid Society, New York County Defender Services, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem issued the following joint statement this morning on the Right To Know Act.

“As Chief Public Defenders, we are grateful for the leadership of Council Member Antonio Reynoso in shepherding Intro 541, one half of the Right to Know Act, into law. This important legislation, which is backed by more than 200 organizations and the families of people killed by police officers, will help to protect the rights of the people we represent against unconstitutional and coercive searches. We are heartened by Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to sign this bill, and we respectfully urge all members of the Council to vote in support of it.

Unfortunately, the latest version of Intro 182, the other half of the Right to Know Act, contains critical loopholes that undermine the bill’s original intent. Specifically, it fails to require officer identification in the majority of police-community interactions and allows for unchecked officer discretion in determining whether to provide an explanation for any law enforcement activity. We echo our fellow members of Community United for Police Reform and request that this bill be withdrawn, so that a more effective version may be introduced and passed in 2018.”