On the heels of numerous anti-police policies, New York City Council votes to put additional ones in place.
Police officers benefit from a policy called qualified immunity. This protection exempts them from being sued by suspects who claim their rights have been violated.
The city council passed legislation making it easy for suspects to turn around and sue law enforcement if they feel like they have been wronged.
The bill’s sponsor, Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin, states this bill is about protecting people’s rights.
“What we are doing is saying the police can’t walk into the courtroom and say, ‘The plaintiff has no right to bring me here because I am immune.'”Stephen Levin
Levin says, “This is about giving people a right to protect the most fundamental rights in our democracy.” It passed 37-11. Part of the bill is protecting New Yorkers from “unreasonable searches and the use of excessive force.”
Rooted in Racism
According to City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, giving officers immunity is, “rooted in our system of systemic racism.” Johnson also says it is used to, “deny justice to victims of police abuse for decades.”
The staff attorney for the Prisoner’s Rights Project, Robert Quakenbush, says it was creating a “culture of impunity.”
While many people support this bill, some spoke out against it, including Councilman Robert F. Holden. “Ending qualified immunity will prevent the best young men and women in our city from joining the police force,” said Holden.
Some believe more focus should be placed on preventing crimes instead of placing more restrictions on officers who are just trying to do their jobs. In a recent statement, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said, “New Yorkers are getting shot, and police officers are on the streets day and night, trying to stop the bloodshed.”
Who Protects Those Who Protect Us?
New York has led the anti-law enforcement charge, and they are likely just getting started. It begs the question, if they keep picking a part of police officers’ protection, will any be left standing to protect citizens from crime?
Fewer officers will stay on the job if they cannot be protected from every perp trying to come after them. Even less will join the police force for the same reason. We cannot ask police officers to put their lives on the line when no one has their back.