New York Gov. Cuomo Signs Policing Reform Legislation
(STL.News) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed policing reform legislation requiring state and local law enforcement officers to report within six hours when they discharge their weapon (S.2575-B/A.10608); requiring courts to compile and publish racial and other demographic data of all low-level offenses (S.1830-C/A.10609); and requiring police officers to provide medical and mental health attention to individuals in custody (S.6601-A/A.8226).
“Police reform is long overdue in this state and this nation, and New York is once again leading the way and enacting real change to end the systemic discrimination that exists in our criminal justice and policing systems,” Governor Cuomo said. “These critical reforms will help improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve and take us one step closer to righting the many injustices minority communities have faced because of a broken and unfair system.”
Police Statistics and Transparency Act (S.1830-C/A.10609)
The Police Statistics and Transparency Act – or STAT Act – requires courts to compile and publish racial and other demographic data of all low-level offenses, including misdemeanors and violations. The data collected must be made available online and updated monthly. The new law also requires police departments to report any arrest-related death to the Department of Criminal Justice Services and to submit annual reports on arrest-related deaths to the Governor and the Legislature.
Senator Brad Hoylman said, “The Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act, a recommendation of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, requires law enforcement to collect and publicly report demographic information ranging from low-level arrests to in-custody deaths. Because of this legislation, we’ll finally have the data necessary to identify and root out the systematic and discriminatory policing practices that law enforcement uses to target Black and Brown New Yorkers. Today, with the signature of Governor Cuomo, this historic bill will become law. I’m thankful for the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Codes Committee Chair Jamaal Bailey, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly sponsor Joe Lentol for helping me usher this bill to passage, along with the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus. I’m honored to have had the support of Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who travelled to Albany to personally campaign for passage of the Police STAT Act. We enact this law in honor of the memory of Ms. Carr’s son.”
Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol said, “I am proud to sponsor all of the recent sweeping reforms to New York State law that will promote greater transparency and accountability in law enforcement. It began last week when the Governor signed the repeal of 50-a and now with the passage of the STAT Act. Transparency is good for every sector of government. I am especially proud to have been the prime sponsor of the STAT Act, and that after five long years of trying to move it forward, it has finally passed.”
Weapons Discharge Reporting (S.2575-B/A.10608)
This new law requires that any law enforcement officer or peace officer who discharges their weapon, while on or off duty, where a person could be struck by a bullet from the weapon is required to verbally report the incident to his or her supervisor within six hours and prepare and file a written report within 48 hours of the incident.
Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, “I would like to thank the Governor for signing this crucial piece of legislation, which requires law enforcement officials to report within six hours whenever they have discharged their weapon and could have struck an individual, and a written report within 48 hours. It is important to have this transparency within a department to foster a better public trust, ensure accountability, and improve community police relations. I would like to thank the Assembly sponsor, N Nick Perry, Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, and Speaker Heastie, for ensuring the passage of this bill.”
Assembly Member Nick Perry said, “This law should be dedicated to Jayson Tirado, who lost his life in an outrageous deadly act of police misconduct. When Police Officer Sean Sawyer with criminal intent pointed his NYPD-issued handgun and pulled the trigger ending Tirado’s life, Sawyer knew he could get away with absolutely no consequence for his wrongdoing-and he did. This law won’t punish him, but its enactment will assure us that the next officer that commits this type of wanton criminal act of being judge, jury and executioner will face some accountability. I thank the Governor and our Speaker for their significant support and participation in making sure this is the law of the land.”
Providing Medical and Mental Health Attention to Individuals in Custody (S.6601-A/A.8226)
This new law requires police officers, peace officers and other law enforcement representatives and entities to provide medical and mental health attention to any individual in custody. Police can be liable for damages for anyone who does not receive medical attention and suffers a serious physical injury or has their injury exacerbated by the lack of care.
Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, “I would like to thank the Governor for signing my bill, which would require law enforcement to call for medical attention if requested by the individual apprehended. Regardless of whether an individual is in custody or not, if they need medical attention it should be provided to them. In far too many of these cases, adequate medical assistance has been denied to these individuals or been so delayed that individuals have suffered needless, pain and suffering. In the most egregious cases, indifference or neglect of some persons’ conditions have even lead to senseless deaths, like that of Andrew Kearse, a young man whose pleas for medical attention went unheard. I would like to thank the Assembly sponsor, Nathalia Fernandez for championing this in the Assembly and to Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and Speaker Heastie for pushing this bill to pass.”
Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez said, “Never should anyone’s call for help be ignored. Our law enforcement officers take an oath to protect us, yet too many have died while in custody due to neglect. It is vitally important that we, as a government, ensure that our law enforcement officers take every measure to protect and preserve life. ‘ I can’t breathe’ should never be someone’s last words. I am proud to have carried this bill in memory of Andrew Kearse and everyone else who needlessly died in custody. Thank you Governor Cuomo for signing this into law.”