make police records public By: Devlin Guthrie

There has been a growing tension between the New York City Hall and the N.Y.P.D (New York Police Department), ever since there was publicized criminal and safety records. The information was published because, “For the first time in decades, New York City had counted fewer than 1,100 shootings...and murders were near historic lows.” (Feuer). The city had published the records to celebrate with the citizens for the decrease in crime, making the city safer. Almost directly after the information went public, the N.YP.D. had accused City Hall for misconduct and abuse. However, in another circumstance, the N.Y.P.D. had given the records to an organization who claimed they needed. According to the executive director of the civil liberties group, Donna Lieberman, “It is disturbing that the N.Y.P.D. will give the data to anyone outside of our city who asks for it, but will fight tooth and nail to keep the information from New Yorkers.” (Lueck). Everybody has the right to know about the crime in their neighborhoods and to keep track of arrests and trials. Therefore, police records need to be publicized in order to keep the citizens of the United States safe and knowledgeable about what is going on crime wise in the community.

Police Arrest a Black Teen
Police attack peaceful protesters

The N.Y.P.D.’s secrecy and scandal is similar to the African American Civil Rights Movement are similar because there was racial prejudice in both occurrences. After gaining control of the police records, a civil rights organizations processed the information and found that, “The results of the analysis… ‘small racial differences in the rates of frisk, search, use of force and arrest.’” (City Release Data to Crime Research Group). African Americans are more likely to be accused of crimes simply because they are black. People, along with police, often assume they have some part in the crime because African Americans have a history of being violent. However, there are plenty of African American citizens who are friendly and have good morals. Similarly, during the Civil Rights Movement, police and other white citizens were prejudice against African Americans. A primary group, known for their violence and racism, was the Klu-Klux Klan (KKK). In previous years, even closer to when slavery had just ended, the KKK would commonly attack, lynch, and hang African Americans. However, as technology and weapons became more advanced, so did the complexity of the attacks the KKK planned. The KKK continued becoming more violent, and, “The civil rights movement of the 1960s saw a surge of local Klan activity across the South, including the bombings, beatings, and shootings of the black activists.” ( Within these two events, there was racism and prejudice against the African American populations. Unfortunately, racism and prejudice still exist today, which is a similarity between the N.Y.P.D. problem and the Civil Rights Movement.

Police being tried
Police Attack Peaceful Protesters

Between the N.Y.P.D and the African American Civil Rights Movement, are some differences that make each situation unique. The police nowadays are being accused for withholding information, however back in the 1960s, the police were able to get away with beating and killing peaceful African American protestors. Though the police scandal has grown and, “As criticism mounts over his administration efforts to keep disciplinary records secret, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio trying to shift attention to state lawmakers and away from his administration's strict interpretation of secrecy laws.” (De Blasio Shifts Blame Secrecy of Police Misconduct Records to State). Many citizens want the records to become public, yet the officials are lying and shifting blame to others in order to quell the tension. However, the police and other officials trying to stop the publication of records are being blamed for following an unconstitutional law. In stark contrast, the police officers during the Civil Rights Movement were able to get away with retaliation that was far more violent than necessary. Even the peaceful protesters, “During the Civil Rights Movement, members of the peaceful demonstrations: sit-ins, freedom rides, and boycotts, were always face with violence and brutality.” (Police a Brutality and Misconduct). Clearly, in different time periods, the police were not blamed for doing the wrong thing, rather than being accused justly. These are some ways that the two Civil Rights matters were different based on the amount of blame being accused at the police.

the reporters committee is known for suing for access to police records

There are a few ways that you could help contribute and support the cause to make all police records public. Of course, someone could always write to their local congressman or senator, but they could also support some civil rights groups that are protesting and suing police departments for withholding the information. One organization is the Reporters Committee, “A nonprofit association dedicated to assisting journalists since 1970.” (Reporters Committee). This organization is known for their support for publicizing records to allow journalists to use this information in their writing. Another drastic measure someone could take; if that person has a strong army's the; they could sue their police department for the case they have against them. Overall, there isn't much one can do to help this predicament because it has been mostly put aside and not considered worth the time to alter. However, if this problem becomes relevant again, those are some ways someone could help support or begin the movement to this civil right.

Works Cited

"De Blasio Shifts Blame For Secrecy of Police Misconduct Records to State." WNYC. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

Feuer, Alan. "Two Suits, One Aim: Make Police Officers' Disciplinary Records Public." The New York Times. The New York Times, 31 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

Lueck, Thomas J. "City Releases Police Data to Crime Research Group." The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2008. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

"Police Brutality and Misconduct - Has Martin Luther King's Dream Come True, Today?" Police Brutality and Misconduct - Has Martin Luther King's Dream Come True, Today? N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

"Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press | A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Association Dedicated to Assisting Journalists since 1970." Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press | A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Association Dedicated to Assisting Journalists since 1970. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

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