Albany, NY – New York lawmakers are considering a bill that would strip law enforcement officers of their pension benefits in the event they are fired for misconduct or retire or resign in the midst of a misconduct investigation.
Richardson and Sepulveda said that lawmakers need to do more to punish law enforcement officers who have been accused of “improper” or “illegal actions.”
“Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect and serve. They are supposed to be our trusted partners,” Richardson declared, according to the New York Post. “However, when that trust is broken, there must be consequences.”
Richardson said that the purpose of the bill is to “add a level of accountability” by stripping away retirement benefits from officers “who take it upon themselves to act outside of their training and the law.”
Fighting back against “the scourge of police brutality” is also a primary goal, according to Sepulveda.
“Systematic racism, inadequate training, and abuse of power have all contributed to the scourge of police brutality that has torn apart families and communities across the county,” the state senator told the New York Post. “We are at a pivotal moment for anti-racist and police reform, and it is clear that law enforcement officers must face greater accountability.”
Under current law, officers who are convicted of a felony already face the potential of losing their pensions, the New York Post reported.
But officers who are fired, resign or retire from the force are still generally permitted to collect their retirement benefits.
New York Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch said that the proposed law change sets a dangerous and unfair precedent.
“This bill is mind-blowing hypocrisy: Police officers’ retirement benefits could be stripped away based on mere allegations of misconduct, while state legislators who are formally censured for serious misconduct would still get to keep theirs,” Lynch said, according to the New York Post.
“Senator Sepulveda should cut out his anti-cop grandstanding and focus on his constituents,” he added. “Eighty people were shot in the Bronx last month, more than double last June’s total. What is he doing about that?”