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Three more police reforms are signed into law by Cuomo

Ryan Zunner

Just days after ordering local governments and police to rework their models or lose state funding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed additional pieces of legislation to reform police and law enforcement practices.

Cuomo announced he would sign three bills into law during his Monday COVID briefing, an event which in recent weeks has become just as much about addressing social unrest as it has the health emergency and related economic reopening.

"I said from day one, I stand with the protesters. The outrage was right. The outrage was justified," said Cuomo about ongoing protests calling for police reform, following the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis late last month. "What we do in New York is we take the outrage and we seize the moment, right? 'Carpe Momentum.' It's about people wanting to change. Well, New York will be the place that actually makes the change and we pass laws that have done just that."

Credit Flickr/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) opened his Monday COVID briefing by announcing his pending signature of three new pieces of police reform legislation.

One of the bills he signed is known as the Police Statistics and Transparency Act, or STAT Act. It requires courts compile and publish demographic data, including race, in all low-level offenses including misdemeanors and violations. The data must be made available online and updated monthly. Additionally, the STAT Act requires police departments report any deaths while in the process of an arrest to the Department of Criminal Justice Services, and submit annual reports on arrest-related deaths to the Governor and State Legislature.

A second bill signed Monday requires law enforcement officers report when they discharge their weapon no later than six hours after the incident. The third bill signed requires police provide medical and mental health assistance to individuals in their custody when needed.

These newly signed laws follow additional reforms signed Friday, known as "Say Their Names" reforms. Those measures include the repeal of section 50-a. which previously kept past disciplinary records of law enforcers private.

Cuomo also spoke Monday of the executive order he issued the previous Friday, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.

"Every community has to now come to the table as a collaborative. Local leadership, police, community activists, and redesign their public safety function," he said. "How do we change the police? How do we take this moment and and actually institutionalize it to have progress?"

Under the order, local governments entities have until April 1, 2021 to legislate a new police model or lose state funding.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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