The New York State Senate Tuesday voted to repeal a 44-year-old provision that had previously shielded police officers’ disciplinary records from being released to the public, an early sign that the nationwide police brutality protests are advancing actionable change.

In 1976, legislators passed the provision, known as 50-A of New York’s Civil Rights Law, as a way to protect police officers who testified in court. “All personnel records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion, under the control of any police agency or department of the state … shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review without the express written consent of such police officer, firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, correction officer or peace officer …. except as may be mandated by

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