Desperately Needed Change Comes to Albany But More Must Be Done, Say Immigrant and Criminal Justice Advocates

Albany, NY-Today, the New York State legislature, under the leadership of Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, passed several pieces of legislation related to police reform, including: a repeal of Section 50-a, which blocks the public release of police disciplinary records, new body camera requirements for state and local police, and the codification of the role of a special prosecutor in the attorney general’s office. The legislation will now go to Governor Cuomo, who has stated that he was prepared to sign any bill related to police reform the legislature provides him.

In response to the passage of this legislation, Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:

“The good news is that New York State is starting to wake up to justice.  On behalf of New York’s immigrant communities, we thank Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for finishing the work that their constituents started. From Buffalo to Brooklyn, tens of thousands of New Yorkers have faced down ‘kettling’, tear gas, and ferocious beatings by the police, to demand justice for Black communities and real change in policing. The bravery of protesters and the decades of advocacy work by our partners in the criminal justice movement made the changes passed in Albany today possible. 

But this is only the start. We still have a long way to go—banning deadly techniques, radically reducing the size of police departments and scaling up other services, and removing police officers from our schools—before we genuinely transform a largely unaccountable system dedicated to oppressing Black New Yorkers.”