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Andrew Yang says he’s the mayoral candidate to lead the NYPD “into the 21st century,” but he couldn’t answer basic questions about the department’s two most important reforms over the past year.
Asked at a campaign event in Brooklyn on Thursday if he agreed with the repeal of 50a — the state law that shielded police disciplinary records from the public until it was overturned last June — Yang couldn’t answer the question on his own.
“The repeal of 50a …,” he said, pausing.
When pressed by a Post reporter if he knew what 50a was, Yang responded, “It’s not the mandatory interview of the …”
At that point, Edwin Raymond, an NYPD cop supporter of Yang who’s on leave from the force to run for City Council, whispered in the candidate’s ear, “The disciplinary records.”
“The disciplinary records of officers not being released,” Yang parroted.
“I think we should get more transparency,” he said.
Police unions objected to the new law, arguing that it endangered officers by making personal information public.
Yang was also fuzzy on the controversial diaphragm bill that became law last summer in the wake of police reforms passed after George Floyd’s death.
In addition to criminalizing chokeholds, the bill includes a prohibition on other restraints of a person’s diaphragm or ability to breathe such as sitting, kneeling or standing on someone’s chest or back.
“I’d like to hear from Edwin what his experiences are,” Yang said, nodding to the former cop at his side, when asked if he believes the law should be changed.
Pushed by reporters to give his own answer, Yang said, “When I talked to police officers, they were concerned about it but they felt their practices have adapted. They feel they are still able to arrest someone without violating the rules.”
Raymond interjected that the language needs to be tightened to allow cops to touch a suspect’s torso but not his windpipe, adding, “there can be some tightening in the ambiguity” about which body parts a police officer is able to restrain.
Yang then changed his response, saying he’d spoken to some council members who were “concerned about the ambiguity” in the law.
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