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New York repeals 50-A law that hides police disciplinary records from the public

New York has quickly taken tangible action after protesters and celebrities called for greater transparency in police departments statewide.

New York's state Senate voted 40-22 on Tuesday to repeal 50-A, a section of a state law that blocks police disciplinary records from the public. The law has been around for decades and activists have wanted it gone for years, but a wave of letter-writing campaigns, protests, and celebrity support finally made it happen.

Starting Monday, the New York state legislature has churned through a wave of police reform bills. That includes a ban on chokeholds — which was already in place in the NYPD for years before an officer used a chokehold and killed Eric Garner. It also includes the repeal of 50-A, which was enacted in the 1970s and blocks the release of "all personnel records used to evaluate performance" of police officers unless allowed by a court or judge. The NYPD recently "fought in court to expand the interpretation of the law" so it includes records of disciplinary hearings, The New York Times describes.

After the killing of George Floyd sparked protests across New York and the country, New York state Sen. Jamaal Bailey (D-Bronx) introduced a proposal to repeal 50-A. The majority-Democrat Senate passed the bill, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has promised to sign it. Bailey highlighted the history of 50-A in a Tuesday statement celebrating its repeal, saying this move "will help restore public trust in law enforcement." Kathryn Krawczyk