NEW LAW: Now Buffalo Citizens Have a Right to Know Why They Are Being Policed!

TheMinority Bar Association of  Western New York  (MBAWNY), together with the Urban Think Tank, the NAACP Buffalo Branch, Members of the Clergy, Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, National Lawyers Guild-Buffalo and others, held  a press conference in front of City Hall last Thursday where they released the following statement:

“The Minority Bar Association of WNY Criminal Justice Reform Task Force has worked with community stakeholders over the last year to provide impactful, common-sense recommendations for policing reforms.  One of those reforms is the Right to Know Law, which has been enacted in New York City and Syracuse.  

Taking inspiration from these versions, as well as the demands and gains of activists during last year’s uprising, the MBAWNY Criminal Justice Reform Task Force drafted the first version of the Right to Know Law for Buffalo and provided extensive input regarding the final version. 

The Right to Know Law that is now in effect is the most robust one in New York State.  Now that the law has been passed by the Common Council and signed by Mayor Brown, the Buffalo City Code and Charter will be amended to require police to provide the public with notice of the reasons behind their encounters with the Buffalo Police Department (BPD), as well as information on how to file a complaint.

This law will also require police to record most interactions with civilians, and will require them to obtain affirmative consent for searches in most situations. Overall,  the law is also designed to increase transparency in police practices and restore trust between the BPD and the community. “