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Second judge rules Nassau County police need to disclose records

Nassau County Police
Elvert Barnes

A lower court judge sided against a Nassau County Police effort to keep disciplinary records secret.

The case is one of several attempting to force Nassau to release misconduct records. Here, Judge Andrew Engel, who hears mostly DWI trials, required Nassau to turn over the records for any cop who planned to testify in court. Police objected to this and sued to block Engel’s order.

In 2020, New York repealed the law that shielded police disciplinary records from disclosure. Most police departments fought the new law but eventually turned over the records. Nassau is the most significant holdout. Police successfully won a lawsuit brought by Newsday. That ruling is currently being appealed.

In this most recent decision, Nassau County Judge Roy Mahon agreed with Judge Engel that misconduct records need to be turned over in the DWI cases. While most legal observers expect Nassau to appeal the decision, a spokesperson for the county said the decision is still being reviewed.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.