Joint Statement from The Legal Aid Society and CPR on City’s Volatile Interpretation of 50A
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017

The Legal Aid Society and Communities for Police Reform (CPR) issued the following statement this morning criticizing the City’s volatile interpretation of 50a – current law that New York City Police Department (NYPD) contends restricts officers’ disciplinary records from public release. The joint statement specifically comes in response to yesterday’s Department trial for Officer James Frascator where an NYPD administrative law judge allowed 50a to be invoked to protect a retired officer who was testifying as an expert witness from answering pertinent questions about his own disciplinary history. The Judge then forced the public to leave and closed the courtroom. This is the first time the Department has cited 50A to close a Department trial from the public.

Background

“Yesterday was another example of the City’s dangerously broad mis-interpretation and abusive invocation of 50a that changes by the moment. This Administration shouldn’t have carte blanche to manipulate laws when it’s convenient just to save face. Despite pledges of reform, City Hall has yet to move the needle in a significant way to bring much needed accountability and transparency to the NYPD. Until this happens, trust will never form between communities of colors and others historically oppressed by aggressive over-policing, and the Department. We call on the City Council to hold an immediate oversight hearing scrutinizing the volatile use of 50a that will only continue to protect abusive officers, while eroding reform efforts and improved relations with the NYPD and neighborhoods it serves.”