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No Photos 6th Dec 2016
EXCLUSIVE: Legal Aid Society sues NYPD for concealing cop discipline records from public

The Legal Aid Society is suing the NYPD and wants a judge to force police to release officer disciplinary summaries that the department now claims are no longer public, the Daily News has learned. For more than 30 years, the NYPD posted in its press office a clipboard of personnel orders that included the results of internal disciplinary cases from the departments trial room. But several months ago, police did an about face, saying such information should never have been released because it violated the terms of section 50-a of the state's 1976 civil rights law. The law, which protects an officers personnel record from public release or from being mentioned in court unless a judge says so was passed in part to prevent defense attorneys from attacking an officers credibility based on unsubstantiated misconduct claims.NYCLU pushes against NYPD keeping misconduct records secret The reversal by the NYPD has far-reaching ramifications. The NYPD wants to improve relations with minority communities and to be more transparent. If, for instance, Officer Daniel Pantaleo is brought up on departmental charges related to the chokehold death of Eric Garner, reporters and members of the public could attend his trial. But because a finding of guilt or innocent is not determined until weeks or months after a trials conclusion, the results could not, by law, be released, the city says.De Blasio calls for law to publicize NYPD disciplinary records The suit, to be filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, says the NYPDs actions come at a time of increased public demand for police accountability ... and the publics increasing interest in the requested information is stronger and more justified than ever. The Law Department did not respond to a request for comment Monday. "As the Police Commissioner has said many times before, the Department supports changing the state law to promote additional transparency for the public," an NYPD spokesman said. Mayor de Blasio, meanwhile, has alsocalled for legislative action to amend 50a.Bill Bratton stands firm, refuses to release cop discipline info Cynthia Conti-Cook, the Legal Aid lawyer whose request for such information dating back to 2011 lead in part to the departments actions, said the NYPD is misinterpreting the law as written. She said Legal Aid and co-counsel, the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton, are looking not for every allegation made against police officers just those that were substantiated and prosecuted by the NYPD. Tags: nypd daily news exclusives lawsuits Send a Letter to the Editor Join the Conversation: facebook Tweet

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