Bill introduced to end qualified immunity for police
Jun 26, 2020 1:30 pm
Denis Slattery is reporting for the New York Daily News state Senator Zellnor Myrie is introducing a bill that would change the way police are held legally accountable by eliminating qualified immunity, a provision that protects law enforcement officers from civil action for on-the-job misconduct. Myrie and other lawmakers argue that qualified immunity too often lets police brutality go unpunished. The measure introduced by the Brooklyn Democrat permits individuals to file civil claims against cops who violate their constitutional rights in state court, instead of the federal courts. “In the absence of federal action, I think it’s important for New York to step up and show people that we will hold police officers liable for misconduct,” Myrie said. Even when officers are charged criminally, police can still claim qualified immunity if relatives or victims sue. Supporters of the doctrine argue it deters frivolous lawsuits. A recent Reuters analysis of qualified immunity cases filed from 2015 to 2019 found that in more than half of the 252 cases where police were accused of using excessive force, the courts granted police qualified immunity. The analysis also found dozens of cases where police who had allegedly engaged in unlawful misconduct were protected by qualified immunity. Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, slammed the proposal. “Once again, our elected officials are dumping all of the liability for their decisions onto the police officer on the street,” he said. Read the full story story in the Daily News.