New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday signed police reform legislation today that’s considered among the most aggressive proposals since the national uproar over the police killing of George Floyd. The legislative package outlaws police use of chokeholds, requires all state police officers to wear body cameras, and permits the release of disciplinary records for police officers, firefighters and corrections officers to be released without their written consent.
Another part of the legislation bundle outlaws false race-based 911 calls, a move taken after the highly publicized incident in which a white woman called 911 after a black man, who was birdwatching, requested that she leash her dog.
The chokehold law was named after Eric Garner, the black Staten Island man who died in 2014 while being held in a chokehold by a police officer. The restraint tactic had already been prohibited by the NYPD, but today’s law makes chokeholds punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Garner’s mother Gwen Carr was present at today’s signing, along with MSNBC’s the Rev. Al Sharpton and Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell, a black New York City man shot and killed in 2006 by plainclothes police officers.
The legislative package was strongly opposed by various law enforcement unions, but Cuomo said today that “this police reform is long overdue and Mr. Floyd’s murder is just the most recent murder. It’s not just about Mr. Floyd’s murder – it’s about being here before, many, many times before.”
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