Hundreds of music industry professionals — including artists, managers, record labels, executives, trade groups and publishers — have signed an open letter urging New York state to repeal statute 50-A, which shields police disciplinary records from public view. The letter was shared publicly on Monday alongside an accompanying petition.
Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Megan Thee Stallion, Migos, Demi Lovato Nas, and Meek Mill were among the high-profile artists who signed the letter, which was released in the midst of ongoing nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd. The letter will be sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — who has touted a reform to 50-A as part of a four-part police reform package — as well as New York Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
“We mourn the killing of George Floyd and the unnecessary loss of so many black lives before his,” the letter states. “We must hold accountable those who violate the oath to protect and serve, and find justice for those who are victim to their violence. 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 It must be repealed immediately.”
It continues: “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. 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. We were pleased to hear the Governor’s statement that 50-A should not prohibit the release of disciplinary records. But, clearly, it is not enough. 50-A has been used far too often in the past and, without repeal, it will continue to be used to block justice. When the Legislature returns this week, we urge members to recognize the moment, take one loud, bold, and meaningful step in addressing this systemic problem, and swiftly repeal 50-A.”