Legal Aid Urges Vote on Right to Know, Joined With Other Public Defenders

Members of The Legal Aid Society are convening with New York City’s other public defenders at City Hall today to urge a vote on the Right to Know Act, widely-supported City Council legislation that furthers accountability and transparency in the NYPD and safeguards the rights of New Yorkers.

“For too long, we’ve heard story after story from our clients about being stopped, questioned and searched by police officers with no idea who stopped them, why they were stopped and what to do if they felt their rights were violated,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at Legal Aid, which is the city’s primary public defender.

“The Speaker and City Council have been on the frontlines of criminal justice reform many times and these reforms have made huge differences in the lives of our clients. We urge the Speaker and City Council once again fight for justice and pass the Right to Know Act,” Luongo said.

The Right to Know Act would mandate NYPD officers, after any civilian interaction that did not result in an arrest or summons, to provide the individual with a business card including the officer’s name and rank, as well as a phone number for the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The officer would also be required to explain the reason for stopping the individual.

Additionally, the act would guard against unnecessary and unjustified searches by requiring officers to explain that a person has the right to refuse a search when there is no legal justification for a search.