Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr testifies against NYPD Secrecy Law
Mother-turned-activist wants the NYPD to have more transparency regarding bad cop records
Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, is fighting to get the NYPD to roll back a secrecy law that allows the disciplinary records of cops to remain sealed.
On Thursday, Carr spoke at a hearing in New York City on a legislative proposal to change the law.
“We need to repeal and end the law that protects officers who kill our children and our loved ones,” Carr said.
Garner’s mother has become the face of the fight for justice after her son was killed by a cop who choked him to death in 2014.
Carr, along with other moms whose children were killed at the hands of police, attended the hearing and called for accountability. They argue that hiding a cop’s record of his past misconduct is misleading for families trying to push for justice and reform of police policies, NBC reports.
“The public needs this information. This is about public safety,” said Valerie Bell, the mother of police shooting victim Sean Bell. “Hiding this information means that officers who are repeat offenders are allowed to keep their jobs.”
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said he’s on board with changing the law.
Police unions, however, are against it. New York City’s Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said it endangers an officer’s life and can destroy their career.
Lynch said the law “is even more important in 2019 than it was when first enacted in 1976.”
The law was initially put into place to protect officers from bullying from defense attorneys who might use personal information from their files in cross-examinations, according to a 2018 report from the state’s Committee on Open Government.
But since then it has prevented “virtually any information” to be revealed about a cop’s history and allowed departments to shield critical information, the committee said.