The NYC City council on Thursday passed measures that ended the policy of qualified immunity for police officers from civil lawsuits. Since then, NYPD officers have been talking to each other en masse on social media about leaving the force.
Qualified immunity is the practice of safeguarding police from having to stand for civil trial, which can come with hefty costs, for work done as part of their law enforcement activities. While those who are dissatisfied with how a case was handled can currently sue the City, officers themselves were not personally liable.
"Woke up to multiple texts from NYPD cops losing their minds over the NYC Council decision exposing them to personal civil liability," wrote John Cardillo, who was a former NYPD officer.
"Every perp will now file frivolous lawsuits. Cops will shutdown, resign, or retire early. NYC crime will soar." Which, in fact, it has been doing. Homicides were up 45 percent in 2020.
These measures were passed among five bills and three resolutions directly aimed at the NYPD, forcing additional oversight on them, as well as a policing reform plan required by New York state, according to CNN.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has demanded that the City enact police reforms prior to an April 1 deadline or risk losing state funding for the NYPD. Cuomo has been very clear about this requirement. These actions are part of the city's work to try to comply with Cuomo's directive, which was launched during the "defund the police" days after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in May of last year.
The City Council released a statement saying:
"We believe the plan ratified today by the City Council reflects the themes brought forward with reforms that center squarely on bringing an end to such policing, the criminalization of poverty, and the lack of transparency and accountability in the NYPD. We know there is more to be done. Now the work begins to implement this plan without delay, and ensure that the City's budget is fully aligned."
"These reforms will confront centuries of over-policing in communities of color and strengthen the bonds between police and community. Together, we'll make our city safer and fairer for generations to come," commented NYC mayor Bill De Blasio.
NYC Police Benevolent Association (PBA) president Patrick Lynch, however, had very strong words against the new measures:
"New Yorkers are getting shot and police officers are out on the street, all day and all night, trying to stop the bloodshed. Where are these City Council members? Safe at home, hiding behind their screens and dreaming up new ways to give criminals a free pass. It won't get better unless New Yorkers shame the politicians into doing their job."
Tina Luongo, the chief attorney for the The Legal Aid Society also vehemently opposes these measures.
"Mayor de Blasio had a genuine opportunity to implement urgently needed policing reforms," Luongo said. "He failed to do that and instead produced a plan that at best glosses over the deeply rooted systemic problems within the NYPD that plague the New Yorkers we serve."
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