In order to hold corrections officers accountable for incidents of excessive force and inmate abuse in New York City, it’s necessary to know what the NYPD and Department of Corrections is doing to curtail those incidents and protect citizens from officers that violate the civil rights of New York citizens. That’s the argument presented in a new lawsuit by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). The suit was filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court earlier this month and aims at unlocking the disciplinary records of officers and guards who have been accused of violations ranging from improper behavior to brutality.
Previously, New York State had a law on the books (commonly known as the 50-a Law) that shielded those records from public view. That law was repealed last year after it was argued that such records could help identify repeat offenders and highlight incidents that should have resulted in stiffer punishments for the officers involved.
In accordance with the change, the Department of Corrections did release its database that contains information on disciplinary action as far back as 2019, but the NYCLU argues that hundreds, even thousands of additional records are still not available for scrutiny.
The records that were uncovered show a systemic corruption within the corrections system, citing officers that engaged in everything from drug trafficking to sexual assault.
There have been great strides to reform both the NYPD and the corrections system within New York (including a plan to shutter the notorious Riker’s Island prison system) but if overseers are not allowed to see all of the disciplinary records, who is to say that these officers have been held properly accountable for their actions?
Regardless of the systemic issues, if you or a loved one has been the victim of violence at the hands of a corrections officer, you may be entitled to compensation even if that officer is never punished by the Department of Corrections. You need an experienced New York City corrections officer abuse lawyer on your side. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for your consultation today.