As protests continue across the country—and the globe—protesting police violence in the wake of the death of George Floyd, some of music’s biggest artists have aligned to call for reform.
In an open letter to the New York Police Department, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Justin Bieber, Papa Roach, Demi Lovato, J Balvin, Nas, Migos, and many more called on New York politicians to repeal statute 50-A, a law that protects police personnel’s disciplinary records from being seen by the public.
“We mourn the killing of George Floyd and the unnecessary loss of so many black lives before his,” the letter states. “We must hold accountable those who violate the oath to protect and serve, and find justice for those who are victim to their violence. An indispensable step is having access to disciplinary records of law enforcement officers. New York statute 50-A blocks that full transparency, shielding a history of police misconduct from public scrutiny, making it harder to seek justice and bring about reform. It must be repealed immediately.”
In the letter, which was signed by over 300 music artists, alongside managers, publishers, trade groups, executives and record labels, as well as high-profile actors, and athletes, argues that 50-A must be repealed. “[T]his boulder in the path of justice has stood in the way for far too long and must be crushed entirely,” the letter reads. “It is not just a misreading of the statute; it is not just an inappropriate broadening of its scope. It is the statute itself, serving to block relevant crucial information in the search for accountability.”
The open letter was sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and was shared publicly on Monday alongside an accompanying petition. As part of his response to the ongoing protests across New York state, Cuomo has announced a four-part police reform package, which includes reforming 50-A.