We Need to Talk About Police Disciplinary Records

10 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2017 Last revised: 11 Apr 2018

See all articles by Kate Levine

Kate Levine

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Date Written: August 7, 2017


In March 2017, an employee of New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board leaked the disciplinary record of Daniel Pantaleo to the media. Pantaleo, the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death in the video that went public and horrified many citizens, is under federal investigation after a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict him for Garner’s death. Legal Aid Society attorneys had unsuccessfully sought the release of his records in the courts for years. The leak of his records is the public face of an important but rarely discussed issue facing police, legislators, judges, lawyers, and scholars who care both about transparency for public servants and privacy for individual citizens: how and when police should be forced to make their disciplinary records public.

This essay addresses the debate over whether individual officer's disciplinary records should be made public. It looks at the benefits to making such records public in courtroom situations and the drawbacks to more public availability. It also compares the debate over police disciplinary records to the debate over the publication of criminal records.

Keywords: Policing, Criminal Records, Internal Investigation, Privacy, Transparency

Suggested Citation

Levine, Kate, We Need to Talk About Police Disciplinary Records (August 7, 2017). Fordham Urban Law Journal, Online, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3039672

Kate Levine (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://cardozo.yu.edu/directory/kate-levine

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