Rihanna, Animal Collective, & Hundreds More Musicians Call For New York Police Reform In Open Letter

An wide array of music industry heavyweights have signed an open letter addressed to the New York State House and governor Andrew Cuomo to repeal 50-A, the section of the NY Civil Rights Law that makes police misconduct records inaccessible to the public.

“We must hold accountable those who violate the oath to protect and serve, and find justice for those who are victim to their violence. An indispensable step is having access to disciplinary records of law enforcement officers,” the letter reads. “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 It must be repealed immediately.”

The signees include Rihanna, Animal Collective, Billie Eilish, Grimes, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Nas, Future, Migos, Post Malone, Gunna, James Blake, Megan Thee Stallion, Miguel, RZA, Shawn Mendes, Tinashe, YG, Death Cab For Cutie, Nile Rodgers, Paula Abdul, Demi Lovato, DRAM, 070 Shake, Best Coast, Charly Bliss, and many, many, many more. A full list can be seen in the PDF here.

Here’s the full open letter:

Dear Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie:

We mourn the killing of George Floyd and the unnecessary loss of so many black lives before his. We must hold accountable those who violate the oath to protect and serve, and find justice for those who are victim to their violence. 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 It must be repealed immediately.

It is not enough to chip away at 50-A; this boulder in the path of justice has stood in the way for far too long and must be crushed entirely. It is not just a misreading of the statute; it is not just an inappropriate broadening of its scope. It is the statute itself, serving to block relevant crucial information in the search for accountability.

We were pleased to hear the Governor’s statement that 50-A should not prohibit the release of disciplinary records. But, clearly, it is not enough. 50-A has been used far too often in the past and, without repeal, it will continue to be used to block justice. When the Legislature returns this week, we urge members to recognize the moment, take one loud, bold, and meaningful step in addressing this systemic problem, and swiftly repeal 50-A.

Thank you.