New York Poised To Lift Veil On Police Disciplinary Files

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Cutout Photo: Elvert Barnes / CC BY-SA 2.0ALBANY – A decades-old law that kept law enforcement officers’ disciplinary records secret in New York appeared to be headed for an overhaul this week as state lawmakers moved to act on a number of police accountability measures prompted by street demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.The state law, known by its section title, 50-a, was passed in the 1970s to prevent criminal defense attorneys from subjecting officers to cross-examinations about irrelevant information in their personnel file. The law applies to jail guards and firefighters, as well.But over the years, the law also draped a veil over most records of alleged police misconduct. Formal complaints about excessive force by officers are not public in New York. In recent years, police departments have cited the law in refusing to say even whether officers have been punished.The Democrat-led Legislature planned to pass a repeal this week and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he intends to sign it, noting that such records are already available for other government employees, such as teachers and toll takers. “Their records will be available,” Cuomo said. “It is just parity and equality with every other public employee.”The leaders of a coalition of police unions argued in a statement Monday that releasing such records, including complaints, could leave officers facing “unavoidable and irreparable harm to reputation and livelihood.”The legislation would provide officers with some privacy protections, including redaction of home addresses, personal phone numbers and email addresses.The legislation was among a package of police accountability bills that began to move through the legislature Monday, and some of which were passed. The state Senate and Assembly passed legislation that bans police chokeholds, guarantees the right to record police activity and collects more data on deaths in custody.Another bill that makes it easier to file civil lawsuits against people who call 911 and falsely accuse someone of criminal activity based only on their race or background also passed.A vote on opening police disciplinary records could come as soon as Tuesday.Meanwhile, the protests that sparked the reform push continued around New York City on Monday, and organizers urged people to stay in the streets.Protest organizer Carlos Polanco was cheered by hundreds at Washington Square Park as he asked for further change, including diverting funding from the city’s police department to the school system, social workers and programs that prioritize rehabilitation over punishment.“This is the closest we’ve ever been” to lasting reforms, he said, but added “we don’t want crumbs. We want all of it.”Later in the day, Polanco urged a crowd gathered at Gracie Mansion to call their senators and demand that the state’s police records law be repealed Tuesday.Civil liberty and criminal justice reform groups have long pushed for a repeal of the law, but that effort got new momentum amid huge protests over Floyd’s death and images of violent confrontations between officers and demonstrators.Only New York and Delaware have state laws that provide law enforcement “with special carve outs from records disclosure,” according to a statement from advocacy groups including Common Cause New York and the New York Public Interest Research Group.“What’s become increasingly clear over the past few days is how much a lack of transparent accountability measures leads to police acting with impunity in our communities,” said Michael Sisitzky, lead policy counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union.“We’ve seen police officers drive cars into crowds of protesters and pull down a person’s face mask in order to pepper spray them,” Sisitzky said. “We’ve seen lawmakers arrested and pepper-sprayed while attempting to mediate.”Critics of the repeal include Republican Sen. Patrick Gallivan — a former sheriff in Erie County, home to the state’s second largest city, Buffalo — who noted the overwhelming number of complaints against officers are deemed unfounded.“I think people are calling for a reform that doesn’t get at any of the problems that we face as a society,” Gallivan said in an interview.The law gained widespread attention in 2016, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio argued it prevented the release of disciplinary records of the police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.Garner’s death — after he refused to be handcuffed for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes — came at a time of a growing public outcry over police killings of unarmed black men that gave impetus to the national Black Lives Matter movement.Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, last year urged Cuomo and New York state lawmakers to repeal a law that she has said “is harming me and my family.”last_img read more

Longtime Jamestown Restaurant Closing Temporarily Due To COVID-19

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by Justin Gould / WNY News Now.JAMESTOWN – A longtime downtown Jamestown restaurant is once again closing temporarily due to COVID-19 concerns, but plans to reopen for takeout in the near future.Taco Hut owners Jim and Kim Mason tell WNY News Now online rumors that their restaurant has permanently closed is false.The Masons say the establishment closed temporally on Tuesday to make renovations before reopening for pickup and delivery.“It is different to be in the food business at this time in our lives because people who look well may be very sick,” said Jim Mason who turned 80 this spring. “If you are not careful, somebody could catch this virus and die; we are very careful on what we do and what we say.” Kim Mason says they have a lot invested in the community, and the community has a lot invested in them, something they are not ready to give up yet.“We’ve owned this business for 48 years, he (Jim) put the man on the moon before this, he came back here in 1972 to start this business, that is a great accomplishment here in Jamestown,” said Kim Mason. “We want to see it continue, we want to have our employees, have customers come in, but COVID has had a big impact on that.”Taco Hut previously closed this year due to the pandemic, but reopened for takeout and later indoor dining in June.The Mason’s don’t have a specific timeline for reopening takeout services, but say they plan to announce more soon. Once the pandemic is over, the family owned business hopes to reopen indoor dining and welcome the community back for the full Taco Hut experience.last_img read more

Tickets Now Available for Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at the Public Theater

first_img Antony and Cleopatra features costumes and sets by Tom Piper, lighting design by Stephen Strawbridge, music composition by Michael Thurber and movement direction by Gelan Lambert. View Comments Tickets are now on sale for the radical new production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra off-Broadway. Directed and revised by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the production is an international collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Miami’s GableStage and Ohio University. Starring Jonathan Cake and Joaquina Kalukango, the show will begin performances February 18 at The Public Theater and play a limited engagement through March 23. Antony and Cleopatra Joining Cake and Kalukango onstage are Henry Stram, Ian Lassiter, Charise Castro-Smith, Chivas Michael, Samuel Collings, Ash Hunter, Chukwudi Iwuji and Sarah Niles.center_img Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on March 23, 2014 The classic tale follows a man and a woman who have fallen desperately in love at the fringes of a war-torn empire. But for a soldier set to enforce the imperial will and the queen intent on throwing off the yoke of the empire, there is no place for personal desire. McCraney’s version transports us to 18th century Saint-Domingue on the eve of revolution.last_img read more

The Pooch Is In the Heel! Westminster Dog Show Winner Debuts in Kinky Boots

first_img View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on April 7, 2019 Related Shows Kinky Boots Everybody bark yeah because Westminster winner Sky, who took home the coveted Best in Show prize at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, made her Broadway debut in Kinky Boots on February 13. Audience members at the Tony-winning musical were playfully surprised by the pup’s guest appearance, and Tony winner Harvey Fierstein even wrote new lines for Sky’s debut. During his curtain-raising “turn off your cell phone” announcement, Don, the disgruntled factory worker played by Daniel Stewart Sherman, said, “I don’t care if you did win the Westminster Best in Show—pick up after your dog! And congratulations!” Luckily, photographer Bruce Glikas snapped Sky’s center stage cuddle session with Sherman when the adorable Wire Fox Terrier came up for the curtain call, where she received a standing ovation! It’s true what they say: Theater’s gone to the dogs.last_img read more

Ed Hyland & Dierdre Friel Join Off-Broadway’s Under My Skin

first_imgThe upcoming off-Broadway premiere of Under My Skin has added two more Broadway alums to the mix. Ed Hyland and Dierdre Friel will join the cast as Poppa Sam and the Angel, respectively. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on June 8, 2014 Hyland was last seen on Broadway in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Machinal. His additional credits include Arcadia, Festen, and The Man Who Had All the Luck. Friel appeared on Broadway in Leap of Faith. The two join a cast that includes the previously announced Kerry Butler, Matt Walton, Megan Sikora, Allison Strong, Kate Loprest and Andrew Polk. Under My Skin The show begins previews on April 5 and officially opens on May 15 opening at the Little Shubert Theatre. Under My Skin explores the three things we all want, but can’t always get: sex, love and healthcare. It tells the story of the twist of fate run-in between Harrison Baddish, New York’s most eligible bachelor (Walton), and single, working mother Melody Dent (Butler).  View Commentslast_img read more

Tickets Now On Sale for Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion

first_img Related Shows Tickets are now available for The Lion, an autobiographical musical written and performed by singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer. Directed by Sean Daniels, the limited engagement will play from June 10 through July 13 at City Center. Opening night is set for June 26. View Comments The Lion The Lion is a true story of love, loss, family loyalty and the redemptive power of music. Songs from the tuner are featured on Scheuer’s album, The Bridge. The Lion has been previously performed in various incarnations at Lincoln Center, the St. James Theatre in London and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The production will have set design by Neil Patel, costume design by Jennifer Caprio, lighting design by Ben Stanton and sound design by Leon Rothenberg. Show Closed This production ended its run on July 13, 2014last_img read more

Odds & Ends: Watch Audra McDonald & Will Swenson Get Drenched by an Elephant & More

first_img Audra McDonald Billy Porter & Laverne Cox Will Join Patti LuPone & Sting in Concert Kinky Boots’ Billy Porter and Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox will join the previously reported Patti LuPone and Sting in Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality. The event will take place on September 15 at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre. It’s definitely sounding like quite the gathering. View Comments Patti LuPone Billy Porter Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Finding Neverland Star Carolee Carmello Lands Boston Concert A.R.T. Finding Neverland star and Tony nominee Carolee Carmello is doing a Boston concert for Fudge Theatre Company on September 22. The evening will take place at the Mosesian Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts. Carolee Carmello Will Swenson Watch Audra McDonald & Will Swenson Get Drenched by an Elephant Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and her hubby Will Swenson are the latest Broadway stars to take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The pair stopped by Zoo Atlanta (Swenson is currently in town starring in Bull Durham) and got wet with a little help from a friendly elephant. Who’d they nominate? Norm Lewis and Patti LuPone, over to you… Star Files World Premiere of Susan Stroman-Helmed Little Dancer Sets Cast This new tuner could be one to watch. Boyd Gaines, Rebecca Luker, Tiler Peck and Karen Ziemba will star in the world premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Little Dancer at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. The production will play October 25 through November 30, with opening night set for November 20. Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, the show is inspired by the young ballerina who posed for Edgar Degas and is set in the backstage world of the Paris Opera Ballet. The production will also feature Polly Baird, Wendi Bergamini, Lauren Blackman, Sophia Anne Caruso, Janet Dickinson, Juliet Doherty, Nina Goldman, Kyle Harris, Sean Martin Hingston, Jolina Javier, Michael X. Martin, Michael McCormick, James Pierce III, Jenny Powers, Katelyn Prominksi, Michele Ragusa, John Riddle, Amy Ruggiero, Joseph Simeone, Justin Urso and Lyrica Woodruff. View All (5)last_img read more

Sutton Foster on Getting Glam & Not Singing on Her New Sitcom Younger

first_img View Comments The Broadway favorite, who begins filming the new series on September 22, says she was excited about the show from first blush. “Usually when I get a script, I look at a couple of pages and then whatever,” Foster says, “but with this I sat down in my kitchen and read it all in one sitting. I remember thinking, ‘This is great: She’s kind of dorky and awkward and is trying to reinvent herself…I can do that!’” Foster’s having a ball channeling her inner 20-something. “When I was 26, I was in rehearsals for Millie,“ she says. “I was gratefully working in my 20s, and I never really thought of myself as hip, so this is really fun. The cool thing about it is that I get to keep all of the maturity and intelligence that I have as a 40-year-old.” Star Files Will Foster show off her triple-threat skills on the show? “No karaoke episodes,” she laughs. “With Bunheads, I had the outlet to sing and dance, but this is a totally different thing. I get to show a different side of myself. I think Liza’s tone deaf, so maybe you’ll hear some tone-deaf singing.” The other cool thing is how much she’s enjoying getting decked out for the part. “Let’s just say this is the polar opposite of Violet,” Foster says referring to her most recent Broadway appearance. “I get to be dressed by Patricia Field; my wardrobe is insane. I’m wearing a lot of makeup, and my hair is glammed and highlighted. I get to live vicariously through Liza.” Tony winner Sutton Foster and the cast of her newest project, TV Land’s Younger, shared a sneak peek at the pilot episode of the fresh and funny sitcom on September 19 at New York City’s Soho House. The show, which Foster previously described to as “Tootsie but with age,” follows 40-year-old Liza, a single mom who passes herself off as 26 in order to land a job in publishing.  Younger, which features Hilary Duff, Miriam Shor, Debi Mazar and Nico Tortorella in addition to Foster, will premiere on TV Land in January. Sutton Fosterlast_img read more

Lisa D’Amour’s Airline Highway Starts Previews on B’way

first_imgLisa D’Amour’s Airline Highway begins performances at Broadway’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on April 1. Directed by Joe Mantello, Manhattan Theatre Club’s presentation of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s ensemble production will officially open on April 23.Airline Highway is an ode to the outcasts that make life a little more interesting. In the parking lot of The Hummingbird, a once-glamorous motel on New Orleans’ infamous Airline Highway, a group of friends gather. A rag-tag collection of strippers, hustlers and philosophers have come together to celebrate the life of Miss Ruby, an iconic burlesque performer who has requested a funeral before she dies. The party rages through the night as old friends resurface to pay their respects.The cast includes Tony winner Julie White, K. Todd Freeman, Scott Jaeck, Ken Marks, Judith Roberts, Carolyn Braver, Caroline Neff, Tim Edward Rhoze, Joe Tippett, Shannon Eagen, Venida Evans, Joe Forbrich, Leslie Hendrix, Sekou Laidlow and Toni Martin. Airline Highway View Comments Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on June 7, 2015last_img read more

On Your Feet Star Ana Villafane on Her Dream Diva Roles, Fake Equestrian Skills & More

first_img On Your Feet! Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 20, 2017 Star Files Age: 26Hometown: Miami, FLCurrent Role: A star-making performance singing such iconic songs as “Conga,” “The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and “1-2-3” as Grammy-winning sensation Gloria Estefan in Broadway’s On Your Feet, which charts the rise of Estefan and her husband Emilio.Stage and Screen Cred: A Broadway newbie, Villafañe racked up a number of stage and screen credits while living in Los Angeles, including Rent, Magic City Memoirs, Hiding, Max Steel, Los Americans, Rizzoli and Isles and South Beach. View Comments Related Shows Ana Villafañelast_img read more