As the protests over the murder of George Floyd and police brutality in the United States continue to rage on throughout the country, many celebrities are doing their part by spreading awareness to different causes by posting information online to their millions of followers.
According to reports from Rolling Stone, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Megan Thee Stallion, Migos, Billie Eilish, and Nas are just a select few of the many celebrities who have signed an open letter in support of New York State repealing statute 50-A.
“We must hold accountable those who violate the oath to protect and serve, and find justice for those who are victim to their violence,” the letter reads. “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 wasn’t until after Floyd’s death–when it was already too late–that the public knew of the 18 public complaints made against former officer Derek Chauvin. Not only that, of those nearly 20 complaints, only two of them resulted in a slap on the wrist. Plus, we only became aware of Chauvin’s reprehensible record because Minnesota law requires that this information be made available upon request.
In 2014, the NYPD invoked statute 50-A after Eric Garner was murdered by officer Daniel Pantaleo, who held him in a chokehold. Later, ThinkProgress discovered that Pantaleo had 14 individual allegations and seven disciplinary complaints prior to Garner’s murder. But, in New York State, the police department is legally allowed to withhold an officer’s name from these records.
Now, this aforementioned petition comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushes for police reform. Statute 50-A was passed in 1976 as New York’s police union argued that such a measure prevented them from being subjected to “harassment” by defense attorneys who wanted to use “unsubstantiated” prior offenses against them.
Check out some of the celebs to spread the word down below: