The New York Civil Liberties Union in partnership with Shearman & Sterling LLP filed a motion to intervene in the Buffalo police and firefighter union’s lawsuit against the city challenging the city’s commitment to releasing complaints made to the Buffalo Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.

The lawsuit was brought by the unions in response to a request from members of the Buffalo Common Council for information on Buffalo police officers’ complaint history. When the Common Council sought the information they requested the information immediately and no later than September 2020. The Buffalo Police Department did not respond.

The unions filed their lawsuit on July 22 to prevent the release of public records specifically authorized to be disclosed under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) after the repeal of 50-a, a statute of the state civil rights code that was misinterpreted for years to bar the disclosure of police misconduct.

The NYCLU seeks to intervene to protect the public interest of sharing Buffalo police misconduct information, based on a long history of non-compliance with police transparency efforts on the part of the defendant, the City of Buffalo. 

Attorney(s)

Phil Desgranges

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Date filed

August 14, 2020

Court

Supreme Court of the State of New York County of Erie

Judge

Hon. Frank A Sedita III

Status

Other