Deputy Managing Editor Eric Umansky said ProPublica requested the information from the city’s police watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, soon after last month’s repeal of state law that for decades had prevented the disclosure of disciplinary records.
Unions representing police officers and other public safety workers sued the city on July 15 to block Mayor Bill de Blasio from making good on a pledge to start posting misconduct complaints on a government website. The unions argue that allowing the public to see unproven or false complaints could sully officers’ reputations and compromise their safety.
But we believe the public good it could do outweighs the potential harm,” ProPublica Editor-in-Chief Stephen Engelberg said. “The database gives the people of New York City a glimpse at how allegations involving police misconduct have been handled, and allows journalists and ordinary citizens alike to look more deeply at the records of particular officers.”
Failla’s ruling Wednesday blocks the CCRB, the police department and other entities from disclosing disciplinary records until at least Aug. 18, when she’ll hear arguments in the case. In issuing the temporary restraining order, Failla also barred the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union from publicly releasing records it had already obtained.
“The federal court has no authority to bar us from making it public, and we will contest this unprecedented order as quickly as possible,” NYLU legal director Christopher Dunn said.