Opinion | Good Riddance to One of America’s Strongest Police Secrecy Laws – By Mara Gay – The New York Times


Ms. Gay is a member of the editorial board

Credit…Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

“Protest works.

The large street demonstrations in scores of cities and towns across the country are bringing sudden and sweeping changes to police practices and accountability.

Minneapolis is preparing to disband and rebuild its police department.

California is poised to ban the use of police chokeholds.

Dozens of cities are considering redirecting millions in taxpayer funds from America’s heavily militarized police departments to education, health care, housing and other needs of black and Hispanic neighborhoods that have been underinvested in for generations.

New York took a step toward reform with the repeal Tuesday evening of a state law known as 50-a, a decades-old measure that has allowed the police to keep the disciplinary and personnel records of officers secret. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill.”

Thank you Mara Gay. I recently said, we should make police forces choose between being disbanded, or giving up their police union.  Here are two good comments which followed this op-ed, and one addresses the union issue. I didn’t know these corrupt and evil unions were created by something called the Taylor Law, which FDR opposed.

Brooklyn, NY

As a retired NYC Assistant District Attorney I couldn’t agree more with this article. To many times we were forced to put bad cops on the witness stand without a jury knowing about their violent, racist, biased past conduct. All to often, a cops prior history was hidden from prosecutors and that impounded the problem. I wish the press would start investigating the courts and the histories of Judges in the process also. I believe that would show the public just how racist some judges were/are. Compare sentencing between white and minority defendants and show the public the truth. In 24 years as a prosecutor I caught cops: lying about an arrest, lying during testimony and falsifying paperwork about an arrest. I found cops lying together and shielded by the “blue wall do silence”. Every time I caught a cop doing any of the above, nothing happened to them. No perjury charges. No admonishment from the court or supervisors. Nothing! After 24 years of trying to fix the system from within, I was terminated. My only hope is that retired prosecutors and judges will come forward and tell their stories truthfully. Tell the public how as prosecutors we weren’t allowed to talk to cops for days after they were involved in a shooting. Cops spoke to their union lawyers before speaking to prosecutors. Can you imagine! 50 a needed to be repealed years ago as it just allowed dirty cops to stay on the force. And trust me, there are plenty of dirty cops. How may NYC police scandals took place?

1 Reply41 Recommended

doug commented 2 hours ago

tomkins cove, ny

Thank you and agreed Mara. The next step should be the repeal of the Taylor law that granted police the right to unionize. I vaguely recall during 1967 the debate about this statute, it was far from universally praised. FDR felt it was inappropriate for the public sector to unionize and negotiate against the public interest. Another change should be the prohibition of any officer wearing a badge from concealing his badge number. As a taxpayer who funds the department I have the right to know who’s interacting with me. Patrick (the Jackal) Lynch, the head of the union,has for years been inciting his membership to view us as the enemy. His screeds have only increased recently. From this person’s perspective, the war was begun by the police decades ago and has only been enhanced with the militarization since 9-11. Its long past time we brought these renegades under control. If its only a few bad apples and not a diseased orchard then let the good apples stand up and be counted.

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Opinion | Southern Democrats Saved Joe Biden – By Mara Gay – The New York Times


Ms. Gay is a member of the editorial board.

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“At the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, things look much as they did a half-century ago.

The site is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum, a remarkable collection that includes a replica of a firebombed bus ridden by the Freedom Riders as they traveled through the South protesting segregation in 1961.

Inside the museum the other day, a woman sat down beside me and wiped away tears. “I’m sorry,” she said. “What gets me is, after all this time, look what’s happening right now.”

Credit…Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Southern Democrats — particularly black Democrats — are hoping to keep the history that surrounds them in the past.

Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina explained this in visceral terms when he announced his support for Joe Biden late last month, an endorsement that began with Mr. Clyburn, 79, talking about the first time he was arrested protesting for civil rights decades ago. “When I sat in jail that day, I wondered whether we were doing the right thing, but I was never fearful for the future,” he said. “As I stand before you today I am fearful of the future of this country. I’m fearful for my daughters and their futures, and their children, and their children’s futures.”

Mr. Clyburn said he was sure Mr. Biden was the right choice. “I know Joe. We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us,” he said. Three days later, Mr. Biden won a convincing victory in the South Carolina primary, launching him into his Super Tuesday triumph and the front-runner status he enjoys today.”