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Police Accountability Board can't punish police officers

Jan 28, 2020

Credit Emily Hunt for WXXI News

Rochester’s Police Accountability Board will not be able to punish police officers -- for now, anyway.

State Supreme Court Judge John Ark ruled Tuesday that the newly created board can operate, but he is strictly limiting what they can do. 

Ark said board members can develop rules and procedures that don’t relate to the discipline of Rochester Police Department officers. But he says they can’t access footage from body-worn cameras and other video footage. The board also can’t force police officers to provide evidence or compel testimony.

The police union has contended that the law violates state and due process rights as well as its collective bargaining agreement.

The Police Accountability Board is scheduled to hold its first meeting Tuesday night and is expected to begin a search for an executive director shortly.

The city's corporation counsel, Tim Curtin, issued this statement:

"On behalf of Mayor Warren, though we appreciate Judge Ark’s offer to assist, in deference to the city voters who participated in the referendum process, we would prefer to have Judge Ark rule on Local Law #2, as adopted by City Council, and then reassess our options to the extent appropriate.”

The full ruling is below:

Judge Ark strikes PAB's ability to punish police officers by WXXI News on Scribd