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Rihanna, Meek Mill and more call for New York police reform

Artists are urging New York lawmakers to make complaints against police available to the public.

Rihanna WireImage

Rihanna, Meek Mill, Migos and more are challenging New York lawmakers to repeal statue 50-A, which blocks the public from being able to see complaints made against police officers. According to Rolling Stone, Megan Thee Stallion, Nas and Ariana Grande are just a few of the celebrities who have also signed an open letter demanding that New York politicians repeal that statute.

“We mourn the killing of George Floyd and the unnecessary loss of so many black lives before his,” the letter reads. “We must hold accountable those who violate the oath to protect and serve, and find justice for those who are victim to their violence.”

“An indispensable step is having access to disciplinary records of law enforcement officers,” it continues. “New York statute 50-A blocks that full transparency, shielding a history of police misconduct from public scrutiny, making it harder to seek justice and bring about reform. It must be repealed immediately.”

After Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged for the death of Floyd, it was revealed that the former Minneapolis officer had 18 complaints from civilians made against him, with only two resulting in minor disciplinary action. The public was only able to find these records because Minnesota law requires that complaints issued against police officers be made available to the public upon request.

Conversely, the New York Police Department previously used statue 50-A to cover up the complaint-ridden career history of Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who killed Eric Garner in 2014 by use of a chokehold. After Garner’s death, it was later discovered that Pantaleo had a large amount of misconduct allegations and complaints made against him, which had not been public record due to the statute.

The letter arrives after New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio promised to cut police funding and instead direct more money toward youth-focused initiatives and social services.

“We’re committed to seeing a shift of funding to youth services, to social services, that will happen literally in the course of the next three weeks, but I’m not going to go into detail because it is subject to negotiation and we want to figure out what makes sense,” he said during a press conference on Sunday (June 7).

Read more about the petition to repeal statue 50-A here.

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