New York passes police reform package. How do Canadian policies compare?

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As anti-racism protests continue across the U.S. and around the world, New York has taken steps to implement changes to its police forces in an effort to address systemic racism.

On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a package of bills he called “nation-leading” in an effort to reform the state’s police departments.

Here’s a look at the reforms and how they compare to Canadian policies.

Following weeks of anti-racism protests triggered by the death of George Floyd, Cuomo signed into law a package of expansive police reform bills.

The new measures include a ban on chokeholds and the repeal of 50-A — a 1970s law in the state’s civil code that prohibits the release of a police officer’s personal records without explicit permission from the officer or a judge.

Cuomo also signed into law a bill that prohibits false, race-based 911 calls and a measure that makes the attorney general the independent prosecutor in the killings of unarmed civilians by police officers.

An executive order was also signed, which mandates all local police departments to develop reform plans with community input by April 2021 in order to be eligible for state funding.

And in a tweet on Monday, Cuomo said he would be signing additional police reforms.

Greg Brown, a 35-year police veteran in Ontario who now researches policing at Carleton University, said Canada is “way ahead” of New York when it comes to implementing policing reforms.

Brown said in Canada, chokeholds are “not routinely taught and are not practised in the field.”


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