State Watch

Cuomo signs legislation banning police chokeholds


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Friday signed into law a package of police reforms that includes the banning of chokeholds by law enforcement in the state.

The new policies come as states and cities nationwide seek to make changes to their law enforcement systems following widespread protests over the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

“We signed into law landmark police reform and created a new system by Executive Order requiring local police to reform & modernize with input from the communities they serve,” Cuomo tweeted. “And we made it clear: No reform – No funding.”

Prominent civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton was on hand to help Cuomo introduce the reforms. Sharpton gave a fiery eulogy at Floyd’s memorial service in Minneapolis, condemning systemic racism in the U.S. and saying the time was long past for serious police reform. 

In addition to banning chokeholds, Cuomo repealed Section 50-a of the state’s civil rights law — allowing prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers to become transparent — and outlawed false race-based 911 reports. Cuomo also designated the state’s attorney general as an independent prosecutor in all future matters concerning civilian deaths.

Members of the New York City Council on Friday also came out in support of a plan to cut $1 billion from the city’s police budget, saying they have identified areas of potential savings.

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch criticized the council’s statement, saying it would be responsible for every new crime victim.

“For decades, every time a city agency failed at its task, the city’s answer was to take the job away and give it to the NYPD. If the City Council wants to give responsibilities back to those failing agencies, that’s their choice,” Lynch told New York 4. “They won’t be able to throw cops under the bus anymore.” 

Tags Al Sharpton Al Sharpton Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo George Floyd George Floyd killing New York New York state Patrick Lynch police reform police reforms
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