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

Upper Caboolture property abundant in wildlife

first_imgThe resident willy wagtail nests up in the rafters near the man-shed.Mr Lewis initially built the house for his daughter, but the couple moved in after she needed to be closer to the city. The master ensuite has a double vanity and spa.The master suite has its own private balcony, and the ensuite has a double vanity and a spa. Downstairs is a spacious open plan kitchen, living and dining area, and toward the front of the house are two more living spaces. The living area is open plan.Ms Needham also said their neighbours were “absolutely fabulous”.“If we go away, one will come and look after the mail, while the other will water the pot plants.”The home is set on a 3019sq m flat block and has side access.Mr Lewis and Ms Needham are downsizing due to spending more time travelling around Australia in their caravan. This home at 12-14 Gregor Rd, Upper Caboolture, is up for sale.Life at this Upper Caboolture home is so good even the birds have moved in.Colin Lewis and Robyn Needham have lived at 12-14 Gregor Rd since 2010 and love living among the local wildlife.“The bird wildlife is to die for,” Ms Needham said.“We’ve got a willy wagtail who has been nesting up in our rafters near the man-shed for years now and if we’ve been away on holidays for a while, she’ll come down and talk to us when we get home.“She’s just delightful.”center_img More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019Four of the five bedrooms are kingsize or larger.The two-level home has sizeable rooms, with four of the five bedrooms kingsize, or larger in the case of the master. The home is contemporary by design.Outside is a patio and a three-bay shed turned “man-shed”.The home has a green zoned animal conservation area behind it, meaning it is abundant with wildlife. “My favourite area is our back patio where we have three meals a day and we sit out there are watch all the bird life,” she said. “We can enjoy a bottle of wine and watch the black cockatoos come in.”last_img read more

GLTA planning multimillion dollar upgrade of Racquet Centre tennis courts … to receive part funding from ITF

first_imgTHE Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) is set to embark on a multimillion dollar project to bring the tennis facility at the National Racquet Centre (NRC) up to International Tennis Federation (ITF) standards, ahead of hosting the Inter-Guiana Games tennis tournament set for October.Estimated to cost some US$200 000 (G$42 000 000), the upgrade will involve the tearing down of some of the current bleachers at the facility and the construction of three additional courts, to add to the two currently there. It will also see the installation of lights at the facility. However, this aspect will be catered to by the National Sports Commission (NSC) as part of their ‘Light It Up’ campaign.To host ITF matches at a facility, the Federation requires that a facility must have at least five courts, and Guyana currently has no such facility. The GLTA hopes that with this upgrade of the NRC they can start bringing ITF tournaments here and develop the sport, beginning with the IGG tournament.GLTA president Jamal Goodluck, is optimistic that the facility’s renovations can be completed in time for the October tournament. According to him, consultants estimate that the works will take somewhere between 3 and 4 months to be completed; the real limitation will be garnering the necessary funds for the staggering price tag of the venture.Towards that end the GLTA has already reached out to the ITF, applying for a grant that will see the project receive a maximum of US$50 000. However before that can be done the GLTA is required to submit to the ITF a Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the GLTA and the NSC.The NSC has authority over the government-built NRC, which also houses a squash court facility and the National Resource Centre.The GLTA submitted the MoU in January, to be checked by the legal team of the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, before signing. The GLTA has since received back the document and was asked to make some changes, which Goodluck says the GLTA resubmitted after making the changes, and now await word from the NSC.As it pertains to the GLTA’s acquiring the rest of the money, Goodluck disclosed that following the entities Annual General Meeting (AGM), next week, a committee will be put together to look into that.“We will reach out to our business partners as well as the Diaspora. Right now we’re nowhere near our target, but at the AGM we’re looking to form a group of business minds who can help in that process,” Goodluck relayed.last_img read more