Bronx, NY—New York State Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda and Assembly Member Diana Richardson announced new legislation today, Senate bill S8583 to amend the civil service law to terminate a law enforcement officer's retirement benefits for malfeasance or serious misconduct.
Unfortunately, there have been far too many incidents where law enforcement officers have been accused of allegations of misconduct towards civilians, predominantly those that are Black and Brown. A number of these interactions have resulted in the tragic loss of life. Currently, if an officer is terminated for serious misconduct they can still be eligible to receive their retirement benefits. Termination from serious misconduct should result in the forfeiture of their pension.
"Systemic racism, inadequate training, and abuse of power have all contributed to the scourge of police brutality that has torn apart families and communities across this country,” said State Senator Luis Sepulveda. “We are at a pivotal moment for anti-racist and police reform, and it is clear that law enforcement officers must face greater accountability. Taxpayer dollars should not be funding public benefits for state employees who commit heinous or illegal actions. As such we are calling for an immediate termination of retirement or other benefits for law enforcement officers who do not follow the values or laws of our state and country they are supposed to serve.”
“Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect and serve. They are supposed to be our trusted partners,” said Assemblymember Diana Richardson. “However, when that trust is broken, there must be consequences. What this bill does is add a level of accountability by terminating the retirement benefits of law enforcement officers who take it upon themselves to act outside of their training and the law.”
By increasing accountability measures contingent on law enforcement officers’ actions, we hope to see a shift in police behavior. In conjunction with the historic police reform legislation recently passed with our colleagues in the State Legislature, we seek to establish genuine accountability for law enforcement so that we can rebuild trust and justice within our communities.