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Police Union Preliminary Injunction to Block Complaint Release Denied But Stayed To Mon 2 PM

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Aug 21 – Police, Fire and other unions sued to block the release of complaints against their members now the New York Civil Rights Act Section 50-a has been repealed.

The case was removed to Federal court by the City. On July 28 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Katherine Polk Failla held a proceeding. Inner City Press live tweeted some of it, below.

 On August 21 Judge Failla convened the parties and amici and read her decision. Inner City Press tweeted only a part of it. She denied the preliminary injunction with one small exception, and stayed her decision until Monday at 2 pm. Just after she adjourned, someone of the call said, "Take that, b*tches."  Here's a bit more (the Order will go online) --

Judge Failla says, at the outset, with certain very limited exceptions for information covered by collective bargaining agreements, I am denying the plaintiffs' [the police unions'] motion for a preliminary injunctions. 

Judge Failla: ....on the specific issue of doxxing, plaintiffs have not shown examples of doxxing with this data. I have not found irreparable harm.

Judge Failla: Things that can be expunged, under the CBAs, are different. On these, I think it has to be arbitrated. "Schedule A Command Violations heard in trial room.. that could be subject to a request for expungment."

As Judge Failla continues reading her decision, someone's Hold music surges on. She pauses until it is turned off.

Judge Failla is staying her decision until Monday at 2 pm to allow the possibility of appeal to the 2d Circuit.

 After Judge Failla adjourns, but before call is over, someone on the call says, "Take that, b*tches."

Proceeding begins with accusation that CCRB "conspired" with the NYCLU because the City knew a TRO was coming - and responded to its FOIL request very quickly. [Judge Failla is calling it "NY-CLUE;" she quotes the old saw about horseshoes and hand grenades]

The question on the FOIL response is whether CCRB was acting "in concert" with NYCLU.

Judge Failla: But there was no court order yet. Answer: They got info on an expedited basis, for the City to evade its legal obligation to keep this information confidential.

CCRB responded to 71 FOIL request - all in a matter of days, Judge Failla is told. 

Anthony Coles of DLA Piper: The City and NYCLU were working in concert to reveal information protected by collective bargaining and the Constitution.

Currently stayed: publication of these CCRB records. If and when they are released, will be text searchable. 

Since July 15 - since the TRO? - NYCLU has received a "dictionary" from the CCRB

Judge Failla: I've learned from no less than Judge Hand that I cannot enjoin the world at large. But I can enjoin a party acting in concert, here, with NYC. I can't reach back in time. Were they acting in concert to violate an existing court order? Not at the time

 Judge Failla: This lawsuit could have been filed on July 12 and we'd be focusing on prior restraint. I am modifying my order to remove the injunctive relief I imposed on NYCLU - I am staying it for 24 hours, if Mr Coles goes to 2d Circuit

 Sounds like the CCRB records can and will be published in 24 hours unless Coles goes to 2d Circuit and gets a stay. Tick tock 

Back on July 22: Judge Failla: If I call 3-1-1 tomorrow and complain against a police officer, that's not being disclosed, right? Answer: Right. Or, there's a distinction between NYPD and CCRB. 

Judge Failla: And on CCRB? Answer: They've released officer histories.  Judge Failla: And Corrections Officers?

Answer: The Dep't of Corrections will create a website limited to substantiated allegations.

The unions are being represented by Anthony Coles of DLA Piper. He: I am startled CCRB released records of 81,000 officers 

Coles: We need discovery on how those CCRB disclosures were made. We propose expedited document production. What are they planning to produce? What's been said here is different that what the Mayor has said in press conference, that he's releasing everything 

Now Rebecca Quinn of NYC Corporation Counsel says that collective bargaining agreement allows officers to seek to expunge unsubstantiated complaints from the personnel files - not necessarily the OATH website (which Coles referred to as "dusty")

 Coles says, NYPD promoting unsubstantiated allegations on the Internet will stigmatic the officers. Asks that it be enjoined pending arbitration under the Collective Bargaining Agreement(s). 

Coles said it is suspicious that a July 9 FOIL request for the 81,000 officers' records was fulfilled on July 14.  

The case is Uniformed Fire Officers Association et al. v. DeBlasio et al., 20-cv-5441 (Failla)


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