Hundreds of Music Companies and Artists Demand the Repeal of New York’s ’50-A’ Police Secrecy Law

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Manhattan. Photo Credit: Oliver Niblett

Many music industry companies and artists have signed a letter calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of New York State Legislature to repeal New York’s “50-A” police-secrecy law.

Digital Music News obtained a copy of the firmly worded 50-A opposition message, which was addressed to Governor Cuomo, NY State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker of the NY Assembly Carl Heastie.

In opening, the letter indicated that its signers are mourning “the killing of George Floyd and the unnecessary loss of so many black lives before his,” before stating that the first step towards holding accountable “those who violate the oath to protect and serve” is having access to their disciplinary records.

Under Section 50-A of New York’s Civil Rights law, the disciplinary records of police officers, firefighters, and some other public servants “shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review without the express written consent” of the employee at hand.

Alternatively, disciplinary documents may be inspected or reviewed following a court mandate, according to the Civil Rights legislation. 50-A became law in the 1970s.

Following George Floyd’s passing, it came to light that Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, had been the subject of 18 formal complaints while with the MPD.

Finally, the concise letter relayed that its signers are seeking an outright appeal of 50-A, as opposed to an updated variation: “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.”

An abundance of high-profile artists, including Billie Eilish, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Camila Cabello, Demi Lovato, The Jonas Brothers, and Lizzo, lent their signatures to the message. Additionally, companies and organizations such as ASCAP, Atlantic Records, Def Jam Records, and the Big Three record labels themselves rallied behind the cause.

New York State lawmakers are set to vote on the 50-A repeal as early as this afternoon, and Governor Cuomo has signaled that he will sign the legislation.