By Mark Hallum
A day after signing the Eric Garner anti-Chokehold Act, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would implement further changes by signing bills to mandate better documentation of arrests by police departments and courts and require healthcare to be provided to those who request it going into custody.
According to the new laws, officers must report a weapons discharge with six hours of an incident; race and ethnicity now have to be included in arrest data by cops and courts alike; and police will now be required to provide medical or mental health if requested by the individual being arrested.
“It’s about people wanting change. Well, New York will be the place that actually makes the change and we’ve passed laws that’ll do just that,” Cuomo said. “Mr. Floyd’s death was the last in a long list that goes back over 40 years, goes back to Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder. The question is, how do you make the change. How do turn that energy into positive source to actually make change?”
These measures are part of a package passed earlier in the week in Albany to be signed by Cuomo on Monday, but were not well received by Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch.
“Governor Cuomo and our legislative leaders have no business celebrating today. New York state had been failing our communities for decades: failing to provide economic opportunity, failing to educate our youth, failing to care for the vulnerable and the mentally ill,” Lynch said June 12. “Police officers spend our days addressing issues caused by these failures. Now, we won’t even be able to do that. We will be permanently frozen, stripped of all resources and unable to do the job. We don’t want to see our communities suffer, but this is what Governor Cuomo and our elected leaders have chosen.”
Cuomo’s next goal will have the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative passed by the legislature by April 1 and will call all local leaders to the table before that date to reassess how public safety needs to function under a new design. This gives localities 290 days to draft a fresh blueprint for their communities, according to Cuomo.
Whether or not the new measures will have a wide-reaching impact fell under criticism by many who took to Twitter to ask the governor how he planned to hold the police accountable to these new regulations with no mention of oversight.
Today I will sign additional police reforms:
-Police must report a weapon discharge within 6 hrs
-Police depts & courts must track arrest data, including race/ethnicity
-Police must provide for the medical & mental health needs of those under arrest or in custody who require it
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 15, 2020