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Police Records Posted Despite Judge's Order

ProPublica says it doesn't have to abide by a judge's temporary restraining order
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 26, 2020 3:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Days after a federal judge paused the public release of New York City police disciplinary records, a news website has published a database containing complaint information for thousands of officers, the AP reports. ProPublica posted the database Sunday, explaining in a note to readers that it isn't obligated to comply with Judge Katherine Polk Failla's temporary restraining order because it is not a party to a union lawsuit challenging the release of such records. Deputy Managing Editor Eric Umansky said ProPublica requested the information from the city's police watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, soon after last month's repeal of state law that for decades had prevented the disclosure of disciplinary records.

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Unions representing police officers and other public safety workers sued the city on July 15 to block Mayor Bill de Blasio from making good on a pledge to start posting misconduct complaints on a government website. The unions argue that allowing the public to see unproven or false complaints could sully officers' reputations and compromise their safety. A state judge who first handled the case had issued a narrower restraining order that temporarily blocked the public disclosure of records concerning unsubstantiated and non-finalized allegations or settlement agreements. ProPublica said it excluded allegations that investigators deemed unfounded from the material it published. In all, the searchable database contains 12,056 complaints against 3,996 active NYPD officers.

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