Police officers who have been fired or were at risk of being fired in other jurisdictions would be prevented from being hired in New York state under legislation backed by lawmakers in Albany and in New York City.
The measure is backed by Sen. Brian Benjamin, a Democrat from Manhattan who is also running for New York City comptroller. His rival for the Democratic nomination, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, backed similar legislation on the city level on Saturday in a joint statement with Benjamin.
Support for the legislation comes amid a national reckoning over policing in the United States following the killing of George Floyd last year. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last week in Floyd's murder.
“We need to restore and protect the trust between our communities and the individuals sworn to protect them. We can’t do that if we have people serving as police officers who other cities or states have determined are not fit for duty,” Benjamin said. “Once we enact this bill into law on the city and state level, we can be sure that we are not empowering people who have a history of abusing their positions. This bill will increase transparency around policing and protect the public from abusive officers, increasing public safety for all.”
The bill also comes after local governments in New York were tasked with developing their own plans for local changes to policing, with input from community leaders and elected officials. Submitting the plans was ultimately tied to the release of state funding.
“All it takes is one bad cop to make a fatal mistake, shatter a family and destroy the trust people have in all police. Sadly, we've seen too many police misconduct cases across the country, and many times these so-called ‘wandering officers’ land in other departments," Johnson said. "We don’t want them in the NYPD, and we must do everything we can do to prevent them from working as officers in our city."