WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D- Yonkers) announced legislation on Tuesday that would call for additional funding to provide wearable cameras for law enforcement as well as a permanent Office of Special Investigation.
The proposed legislation comes in the wake of a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of unarmed Eric Garner.
“The sad reality is many New Yorkers currently do not believe that all state residents are treated equally within our criminal justice system,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “Reforming the criminal justice system to ensure that unarmed civilians are better protected is a common sense way to restore New Yorkers’ trust in our public protection institutions. I urge my colleagues in state government to join with the Senate Democratic Conference is supporting this legislation.”
Legislation sponsored by Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will create the Office of Special Investigation to automatically review any criminal offense committed by a police officer that results in the death of an unarmed civilian. New Yorkers will also be able to petition this office to take over investigations in special circumstances.
The legislation also calls for an additional $75 million in the Executive Budget to help law enforcement agencies purchase wearable cameras.
“Body cameras, when utilized properly, have already been shown to help facilitate more positive interactions between law enforcement officers and the public they serve,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to ensure that funds are provided in the Executive Budget, and the enacted 2015-2016 State Budget, so public protection agencies throughout New York State will be reimbursed for investing in these common sense law enforcement tools.”
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