Rihanna, Nas, and Megan Thee Stallion are a few of the hundreds of musicians who signed an open letter addressed to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie regarding the repeal of state statute 50-A. For those who aren’t familiar, 50-A is a decades-old law that makes records of police misconduct in New York inaccessible to the public.
“We must hold accountable those who violate the oath to protect and serve, and find justice for those who are victim to their violence,” the letter reads. “An indispensable step is having access to disciplinary records of law enforcement officers. New York statute 50-A blocks that full transparency, shielding a history of police misconduct from public scrutiny, making it harder to seek justice and bring about reform. It must be repealed immediately.”
Some of the over 300 artists who have signed the letter include rappers Future, Migos, RZA, YG, Gunna, 070 Shake, and DRAM, as well as Nile Rodgers, Miguel, Tinashe, and many more. The letter and its signees can be viewed in full here.
“It is not enough to chip away at 50-A; this boulder in the path of justice has stood in the way for far too long and must be crushed entirely,” the letter continues. “It is not just a misreading of the statute; it is not just an inappropriate broadening of its scope. It is the statute itself, serving to block relevant crucial information in the search for accountability.”
According to the New York Daily News, lawmakers in New York are set to pass police reforms statewide, including the repeal of statute 50-A. On Monday, 10 measures were announced by the New York Senate and Assembly “that will be voted on in the wake of widespread civil unrest calling attention to police brutality against African-Americans.”
“Black New Yorkers, like all residents of this state, deserve to know that their rights, and lives, are valued and protected by our justice system,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The Senate is stepping up to advance reforms that will empower New Yorkers, improve transparency, and help save lives.”