The bills – hotly opposed by a coalition of law enforcement unions – follow weeks of nationwide protests. Legislative efforts to target police violence continued nationwide following the death of several African Americans at the hands of the police, including George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis last month after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
“The truth is that this police reform is long overdue and that the murder of Mr. Floyd is only the most recent,” Cuomo said on Friday. “It’s not just the murder of Mr. Floyd. It’s about being here before, time and time again. ”
In addition, Cuomo signed an executive order subjecting state funding to the police through the development by New York agencies of a plan before April 1 – which will be promulgated after consultation with the community – to “reinvent and modernize police strategies ”, including the use of force. guidelines.
“We are not going to fund police services in this state that do not watch what has happened, do not reconcile and do not reform,” he said.
The governor was joined by the mothers of two victims of police brutality, activist Reverend Al Sharpton and others when the bill was signed in Manhattan.
Sharpton said Cuomo’s executive action on police funding “raised the bar” and called on other states to follow suit.
Cuomo and state lawmakers have agreed to propose a package of significant policing changes that have stalled for years due to opposition from law enforcement circles. On Wednesday, the Senate and the State Assembly passed 10 police bills.
“We are at a time when there is no doubt about it,” said Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Friday. “We know it is not a cure … We know it is the beginning, but it is a decision to do justice to a system that has long been unjust. ”
A coalition of unions and law enforcement associations consider the legislation “anti-police.”
A measure prohibits the use of strangulation by the police. It is named after Eric Garner, an African-American man who died of police strangling during an arrest in 2014.
Chokeholds were already banned by the NYPD at the time of Garner’s death, but the new law makes the use of “chokehold or similar restraint” that causes injury or death a Class C crime punishable by law. ” a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The bill amending the controversial law prohibiting the publication of disciplinary records of police officers, firefighters or correctional officers without their written consent dates from 1976. The law is known as section 50-a of the law on New York State Civil Rights Law, which was passed to exempt police from cross-examination in criminal proceedings, according to the bill.
New York Police Department officials have recognized the need for greater transparency.
Strong police unions, including the Police Benevolent Association, said that the reflected legislation will lead to unfair policies.
The coalition said in a statement that it feared that all complaints against the police – including those that were not thoroughly investigated or substantiated – would be released. He said a judge already has discretion to release such records and that some officers fear they will not be heard.
Another law signed by Cuomo dealt with the use of force by the police. All state police are now required to wear body cameras. Another law requires officers, within six hours, to report each time they unload their firearm in which someone could have been hit.
Lawmakers have also targeted incidents such as Amy’s recent viral video calling 911 about a black man in Central Park. The new law makes false 911 reports based on race a crime.
Democrats in Congress this week announced extensive police legislation, which faces resistance from Republicans, police unions and some local officials.