For Immediate Release
September 16, 2020
Deputy Director, Open Buffalo
Police Secrecy Puts Public Safety at Risk
Open Buffalo proudly joins coalition to defend crucial “50-A” public records reform across NY State
BUFFALO – Open Buffalo is proud enter a new phase in our longstanding fight for police transparency and accountability in Buffalo and throughout the state. Alongside a diverse roster of allies from across New York, our organization is raising our voice in the local court battle to stop local police and fire officer unions from erasing the groundbreaking “50-A” regulatory reforms passed in Albany in June 2020.
By seeking a court injunction to force the City of Buffalo to continue burying their members’ conduct and disciplinary records, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association and Buffalo Professional Firefighters Association stand on the wrong side of justice, public safety, and history. Recognizing this, Open Buffalo has signed onto an amicus brief urging the court to uphold the 50-A civil rights law reform, which gives the public access to officers’ disciplinary records as well as brutality cases lodged against the departments.
“Instances of excessive force and brutality carried out by individuals within the Buffalo Police Department further the rift between law enforcement and our citizens, and it is no coincidence that Buffalo police investigators have so much difficulty compelling residents to come forward with information that could help to solve crimes and get dangerous people off the street,” said Max Anderson, Deputy Director of Open Buffalo. “Without transparency and accountability, police-community relations will continue to suffer, leaving us all less safe.”
A court hearing is scheduled for today, September 16, 2020 at 2pm in Erie County Supreme Court, to address our allied organizations’ request to join the case as an amicus curiae, and the New York Civil Liberties Union's request to intervene in the case. This public and news media should attend this hearing, using the following connection info:
Court Hearing Link:
Those included in the amicus brief are: Black Love Resists in the Rust, the Buffalo Police Advisory Board, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Citizen Action of New York, Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition, Incarcerated Network Nation, Inc., the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Open Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, the Western New York Law Center, the Western New York Peace Center, and thirteen concerned citizens of Buffalo.
Open Buffalo is committed to ensuring that the Buffalo Police Department is transparent and accountable to the community, and to dismantling the system of mass incarceration. Open Buffalo helped to create the Buffalo Police Advisory Board, to revive the Buffalo Common Council’s Committee on Police Oversight, and to reform Buffalo’s Commission on Citizens’ Rights and Community Relations. In 2016, Open Buffalo also surveyed more than 2,000 Buffalo residents about community-police relations and opportunities for improvement/reform and published 32 recommendations on community-oriented policing that have garnered broad support within the City of Buffalo.
Open Buffalo Mission
Open Buffalo’s mission is to advance racial, economic, and ecological justice. We do so through skill building, network connecting, and activating leadership opportunities. Our goal is for all communities in Western New York to thrive free from discrimination and poverty.