The NYPD is out of control: It will not release records on cop discipline
NYPD is determined that rogue cops be protected by the department. Not content with insisting on doing internal investigations (which of course seem always to find the cop was justified in whatever s/he did, because the department’s reputation is at stake), the NYPD will no longer allow the public to view the records on cop discipline. Rocco Parascandola and Graham Rayman report in the Daily News:
So much for transparency.
Citing a clause in a 40-year-old law, the NYPD has suddenly decided to keep records regarding the discipline of officers under lock and key — and will no longer release the information to the public, the Daily News has learned.
Critics say the policy change flies in the face of openness claims by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio. Instead, it raises concerns that the outcomes of department trials could be cloaked in secrecy — even proceedings in headline-grabbing cases like the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
“I think it’s part of a larger pattern of secrecy by the NYPD,” said Adam Marshall, a legal fellow with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “It’s hard to imagine information more in the public interest, and the public interest in determining what has happened in these types of adjudications is incredibly important.”
For decades, reporters have had access to a “Personnel Orders” clipboard hanging in the department’s public information office. It listed administrative cases closed out either by a plea deal or by an internal trial held at 1 Police Plaza. It also listed promotions and retirements.
The clipboard has not been updated since April, when an order dated March 31 was posted. At the time, the NYPD told The News it was saving paper.
This week, the NYPD changed the story, saying a cop’s disciplinary record was protected by section 50-a of the 1976 state Civil Rights Law.
Asked what prompted the shift, Deputy Chief Edward Mullen, a police spokesman, said “somebody” in the department’s Legal Bureau realized that, for years, it had been giving out information it should not have.
It was through the personnel orders that The News learned in March that the NYPD had rescinded the promotion of Lt. Vincent Molinini who was set to become commanding officer of the detective unit in the force investigation division.
Molinini, 44, Detective Christopher Corulla and Detective Frank Muirhead were previously suspended for their involvement in a booze-fueled Feb. 26 debacle, which ended with Corulla crashing his car into a Staten Island hair salon. Molinini lost the promotion on March 11, and the record showing the withdrawal was posted March 18.
In a related development, . . .