Cloak and Dagger

NYPD Will No Longer Release Discipline Records

The New York Police Department has reportedly decided to no longer make public its records of police discipline, a move that critics warn goes against public interest and could cause more secrecy in high-profile cases of police misbehavior. According to the New York Daily News, the NYPD has cited Section 50-a of the 1976 state Civil Rights Law to backtrack on its policy of allowing public access to personnel orders on police officers. The personnel orders made available through the public information office allowed people to keep track of administrative cases against officers, providing an important tool in cases of fatal police shootings and other high-profile incidents. But this week, the department took a step in the other direction, blocking access to an officer’s disciplinary record after internal lawyers realized a 40-year-old law would allow for more secrecy, the Daily News reported, citing sources in the NYPD. “I think it’s part of a larger pattern of secrecy by the NYPD,” said Adam Marshall, a legal fellow with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Both Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio have previously called for more transparency on the part of the NYPD, with de Blasio even suggesting that city agencies be required to file monthly reports to the public advocate and city council. His proposal has not been implemented, however, and he has not yet commented on the NYPD’s decision to introduce more secrecy.