NY FF, police, corrections unions sue to block disciplinary records release

The unions are seeking to block the release of disciplinary records they say contain unsubstantiated allegations

By Laura French

NEW YORK — Unions representing firefighters, police officers and corrections officers in New York are suing to block the release of some disciplinary records after the law that kept the records private was repealed last month. 

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan on Tuesday is calling for records involving cases that have not been finalized to not be made publicly available through an online "data dump," according to the New York Post. The unions, representing about 60,000 personnel, argue that some of the records include unsubstantiated accusations that would damage the first responders' reputations and put their safety at risk. 

Officials planned to release the disciplinary records online following the state-wide repeal of the 50-A law, which had been in effect since 1976 and prevented the records from being made public. The repeal came following growing calls for police reform nationwide following the killing of George Floyd in police custody. 

The suit states that the release of records involving unfinalized cases would violate collective bargaining agreements and violate first responders' right to due process. The plaintiffs did not object to the release of disciplinary records involving proven allegations. 

The plaintiffs are seeking a temporary order to block the records release and a court hearing on the issue. New York City's law department released a statement saying "This legal effort is an attempt to halt the city's compliance with a state law requiring increased transparency to the public. The repeal of 50-a brings fairness to the way disclosures are handled for city employees across the board," according to the New  York Post. 

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