New Jersey

Judges Temporarily Block Releases of NY Police Records, NJ Police Disciplinary Reports

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The release of New Jersey state troopers’ disciplinary reports going back to 2000 was not allowed to go forward on Wednesday as the attorney general planned because of a court order blocking their release.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal had ordered last month that the names of officers who committed serious disciplinary violations be released, but police and troopers’ unions sued to block the release. They argued the release of officer’s names would smear them unfairly.

They won a decision in New Jersey’s Appellate Division last week.

Grewal had sought to require law enforcement agencies across the state to publicly identify officers who were fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days because of a disciplinary violation. The first list was to be published by Dec. 31, though the state police had planned to release data going back to 2000 on Wednesday.

Officers with the state Division of Criminal Justice and the Juvenile Justice Commission suspended for disciplinary violations were also to be publicized by Wednesday. The publication was to cover disciplinary violations for as far back the agencies’ records go, along with a summary of the misconduct, Grewal said.

The court only temporarily blocked the release of the disciplined officers’ names. A hearing in the case has been set for October.

Meanwhile in New York, a coalition of police, firefighter and correction officers' unions filed a lawsuit against the city that temporarily blocks plans to make disciplinary files public. Mayor Bill de Blasio has previously said making those files more accessible to the public was a major part of police reforms and increasing transparency within the deparment.

“This is not a challenge to the public right to know. This is not about transparency. We are defending privacy, integrity and the unsullied reputations of thousands of hard-working public safety employees,” said Hank Sheinkopf, spokesman for We Are All New York, a newly formed union coalition. “Any worker who has ever been the subject of unfair or false complaints knows the personal and professional damage that can be caused.”

The court issued a stay in disclosing any records concerning unsubstantiated claims or settlement agreements, some of which were set to go live online starting Wednesday, according to the coalition.

"Today's judicial decision clearly says that public safety officers, police officers, are entitled to due process," said Sheinkopf. "Unproven accusations destroy career and lives. We stopped de Blasio from doing this today."

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