New York Cited as Leader in Shielding Police Misconduct

WNYC, New York’s public radio station, has run a series of reports about a subject that has dominated national news in recent years. Titled “NYPD Bruised,” the reports began in July, 2014, following the death of Eric Garner during his arrest in Staten Island for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Reports in the past few days have discussed problems surrounding the secrecy of records of police misconduct in New York. The October 15, 2015, broadcast is titled “New York Leads in Shielding Police Misconduct,” and includes a survey of ease of access to police records across the country. A segment broadcast on October 14, “When a Cop’s Right to Privacy Undermines Our Right to a Fair Trial,” features an interview with Professor Bennett Gershman, commenting on the difficulty of getting prosecutors to investigate and disclose records of past misconduct by police officers who testify as witnesses in criminal trials. Prof. Gershman says that district attorneys often act like ostriches:

He’s burying his head in the sand. He’s not looking for something that might be right in front of him, might be very easy to locate. This may very well be willful blindness on the part of the prosecution because they want to be able to prosecute their cases effectively.

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