I received a personal note from Governor Cuomo this morning



The Governor outlined approved NYS legislation that should change our policing landscape. Will it work? Does it go far enough?

police changes in New York State

Okay, I did not get a personal note. Thousands of New Yorkers found this in their email inbox. The Governor lists 7 legislative changes plus on executive order that has been implemented.

We have seen the horrible scenes on our television screens, in our social media feed and in print. My question is, 'After the fury dies down, how many of us are willing to be part of the process of change?' What does it take to make a difference?

Just had a funny thought...maybe not so funny. There has been talk about the herd immunity required to limit the spread of Covid-19. It could take up to 50% of us to recover from the virus or to be immunized in order to severely limit the spread. Does that mean if we want to limit the spread of violence, any violence, at least 50% of us need to be active in the process?

I question how each of us, even me, is going to step forward.

Below is the letter that I received in my inbox in its entirety.

Dear Terrie,

It has been three weeks since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Since then, there have been demonstrations around our state and the nation. The outrage we are seeing is not just about George Floyd. It's about Trayvon Martin. It's about Breonna Taylor. It's about Abner Louima. It's about Rodney King. How many times have we seen this situation happen over and over again? The names change, but the color doesn't.

I stand with the protesters and share in their outrage. Enough is enough. The system is broken and it must be fixed.

Late last week, New York was the first state in the nation to take action.

The Legislature passed, and I enacted, the "Say Their Name" landmark reform agenda that will help reduce inequality in policing and re imagine New York's criminal justice system.

The reforms include:
  1. Allowing for transparency of prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers by repealing Section 50-A of the civil rights law;
  2. Banning choke holds by law enforcement officers;
  3. Prohibiting false race-based 911 reports.
  4. Designating the Attorney General as an independent prosecutor for matters relating to civilian deaths.

Today, I signed additional reforms:
  1. Requiring state and local law enforcement officers to report within six hours when they discharge their weapon;
  2. Requiring courts to compile and publish racial and other demographic data of all low-level offenses;
  3. Requiring police officers to provide medical and mental health attention to individuals in custody;
  4. I issued an Executive Order that mandates that every local government in the state has to undertake a comprehensive review of their police department's procedures and, in partnership with the individual communities they serve, adopt specific reform plans. These plans must be submitted by April 1 in order for local governments to be eligible for state funding.

The relationship between police and the communities they serve is based on trust. That trust must be restored or the system doesn't work for anyone. The reforms we have passed in the past few days are a major step forward in restoring this trust, by rooting out excessive force, making policing more transparent, and ensuring justice and fairness for all New Yorkers.

I thank the Legislature for their quick action and their leadership — and I thank the countless people who marched and spoke out for change; your voices were heard. We know there is still more work to do. It will take far longer than three weeks to undo four centuries of systemic racism and injustice in this nation. But New York State is committed to this work — and to realizing the dream of true freedom and justice.

Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo


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