New York Passes Qualified Immunity Law

New York Passes Qualified Immunity Law
June 23, 2021 Comments Off on New York Passes Qualified Immunity Law RNHA News Articles Diane Rivera López

A recent local law passed by the New York City Council causes great concern among police officers, community leaders, and local officials.

The introduction of legislation #2220-a-21 passed on March 25, 2021, is currently awaiting the Mayor’s signature, who undoubtedly will sign it. The actions of the current mayoral administration have continuously harmed the citizens of New York City by placing law and order in the back seat. Mayor DeBlasio also aims to cut funding by a billion dollars from the NYPD. However, recent Mayoral candidates have refrained from supporting this defunding of the police movement. Despite the tug of war, Mayor DeBlasio will allow the creation of a new precinct, along with the construction of a community center. Many have said that this change was due to a Federal COVID Relief Fund of 100 billion dollars for New York.


Qualified Immunity

Despite finding a common ground to end the recent overall spikes in crime rates, this controversial law allows individuals to sue any police officer directly for damages. This eliminates police officers the ability to defend themselves and declaring a Qualified Immunity defense. Qualified Immunity applies when an officer conducts an unreasonable search and or during the use of excessive force. During the case of excessive force, the Qualified Immunity defense is justified, however should police officers acting in good faith have the constant fear of being sued?

Most concerning, is when suspects do not possess anything illegal they can walk away and also sue the police officer. This does not determine that they are not criminals, but this legislation also allows suspects the chance to get away with a number of crimes (including murder, rape, or theft). The determination of whether an unreasonable search or excessive force was performed is made by the city, Judge, or a jury. In either case, complying with such job requirements as to keeping our cities safe, can take a terrible turn for any officer.

Qualified Immunity is a judicially created defense that protects all government employees, not just police officers from liability. These actions may result in the filing of monetary damages and are in addition to federal and state laws. In addition, no physical injury needs to take place and the proof of a violation is enough to carry a lawsuit against an officer. If the plaintiff wins, the city and the official must, pay the damages and legal fees to the attorney. This piece of legislation clearly eliminates “Qualified Immunity” for all parties. In the best effort to solve the current crisis happening in our city streets, the mayor’s budget proposal is as follows:

  • $112 million to expand a mental health crisis response program
  • $27 million for a violence interrupter program a youth mentorship for at risk teenagers
  • $3 million for community-based hate crimes.

These investments will aim to ease police interactions that have led to alterations.


The Sergeants Benevolent Association’s Role

President Ed Mullins, of the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), is at the forefront of the recent attacks on the “defund the police movement”. Ed Mullins is the host of “To the Point” and President of the 13,000-member association. The SBA has served in the communicates in many ways, such as the Widows and Children Fund, SBA Scholarship Fund, and Operation Blue Christmas.

According to their website, the roots of the SBA run as deep as those of the City of New York itself. In 1899, just one year following the consolidation of the city’s five boroughs and the formation of the NYPD, the Department’s supervisory officers formed a fraternal organization known as the Police Sergeants Endowment and Benevolent Association. The role of the NYPD sergeant today is as integral to public safety as it was back in 1907, when Sgt. Richard E. Enright was elected the first SBA president, before going on to become the New York City police commissioner.

“They must match their wits against the cunning of the crook as well as the smug hypocrisy of pious violators of the law,” he said, as reported in the New York Times, “They must face the clamor of the mob and the misunderstanding of the press. To do it all, [these officers] must have something within them that money cannot buy, that gives them courage not to falter even when the black finger of falsehood and malice is pointed at them. There is nothing of the mollycoddle about the New York Police Sergeant.”

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, Lloyd Sealy was the first African American precinct commander, as well as the assassinations of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert, and Civil Rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, which created tremendous social unrest. The SBA assisted in one of law enforcement’s greatest innovations, the 911 system. Implemented in New York in 1969, since then it has been responsible for saving “all lives” not looking at status, color, creed, or lifestyles.

Looking full steam ahead, one can only ponder as to how will we turn our present unstable situations around. One can say that it will have to start with a common ground approach, to settle the differences of opinions, looking at our stark reality and realizing that good reform from all sides must be present. This is where we must look beyond our differences, seeing our humanity and finding the common good because at the end of the day, the only war to fight, is the war on evil and those who promote it.

It is time to begin the conversation between those who stand for racial justice and those who stand for good police reform, because neither can exist without the other. Law and Order is the complementation of justice and equality for all, and first and foremost are the men and women who daily put their lives on the line.

About The Author
Diane Rivera López Diane Rivera López, was born and raised in the heart of Midtown Manhattan on 58st and 9th avenue. Her parents were born in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico, her extended family members are unique since they have a mixture of Countries such as the Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Philippine, African American, Vietnamese and the latest edition of the Country of Ukraine. In 1993, unfortunately she experienced a tragedy in her life and was gun shot 4x, in a Domestic Violence assault, God gave her the opportunity to live and refusing to be a victim she became an overcomer. After two surgeries in 1993 and another in 2008, one of the bullets that had remained in her hip was removed in 2008, having left her with a high level of 64 Lead Poisoning. In that time period the lead level had placed a strain on her ability to read and write, thankfully she has recovered and walks normally, even without a cane! Diane has continued to strive and excel in becoming a great example of perseverance, overcoming life’s greatest challenges with the greatest yet simplest acts of love, braveness and forgiveness. She has turned her experiences into purpose, an began working as an activist and conference speaker for Domestic Violence. Her ministerial and community outreach service started in 1996 in her local church in Spanish Harlem, serving as a Sunday School Bible teacher for children, an organizer and leader in the youth club of her church. She then became the secretary of the church and a deacon for the next 5 years. In her love of writing she joined a ministry as Director and Writer, in Trumpet Tract Ministries for 7 years, where she printed thousands of tracts, and together with the founder sent them across the tri-state area, to several other states as well as various International Countries. She has coordinated and assisted in many outreach community events, street evangelism, and for 3 years organized a gran festival celebrating the diverse cultures in the community. In that time, she also became the assistant coordinator of the N.Y Christian Children’s Parade for 10 consecutive years. Her community service extended as a community Chaplain, where she continued to minister and led conferences in several prisons in the Dominican Republic, provided counseling and bible classes in two drug rehabilitation programs in N.Y. Her love for speaking was best heard as a speaker and fundraiser at Christian Radio Vision International 1330 am, for seven years. She also produced her own weekly T.V program on Manhattan Neighborhood Network for 3 consecutive years, as well as stared in a play that had several presentations at the auditorium of City College. Her speaking engagements range from social issues with diverse conferences or being a host for several events, as well as a guest in many television programs, such as Cristiana in Unívision. In her love of writing she is currently a writer and part of “Subete al Arca” Christian Magazine, as well as the previous Director of “The Gala Magazine” of the Redemption Awards, where was a publicist. For the last 3 years, she is an account executive at Alerta T.V Network, which airs 24/7 on Verizon Cable, channel 463. She is presently working on her first book, which will have an array of current topics as well as her personal life story, believing that it will be of great inspiration, among several blogs she has written up to date. Her newest endeavor is as a Logistic Coordinator at CAC Investment. In 2013 she became the Deputy Campaign Manager for a Mayoral Candidate in the state of N.Y. In her boldness and search to fit in her conservative values, she left the Democratic Party, where she had been a County Committee Member, stating that there was no room left for Christians that hold conservative values. In her newest accomplishments she is a columnist at Al Rojo News a local secular newspaper distributed in the area of N.Y.C. Honored with 2 Certificates of Merit from the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly, among other certificates of recognition, she humbly gives God all of the Glory and Honor. She studied Communications at BMCC for a few semesters and is a few credits shy of a Bachelor’s in Theological Studies. Yet, she has said that her greatest accomplishment is said to be her experiences and revelations from the book of Revelations, the Rapture and the Kingdom of God, so as several miracles she received throughout her life, being forever grateful. As a Journalist for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, she is honored to be a part of the great change that our Country needs, as well as the preservation of those principles and values that we hold dear to, aiming to be part of our great American Dream. Diane Rivera López recently married her best friend, Mr. Clark Peña. He is the Ceo of Yes Public Relations, Inc. and also the special assistant to Ed Mullins, President of the Sargeant's Benevolent Association. He works as Director of Legislative Affairs and Communications for Pastor and City Councilman Fernando Cabrera at the New York City Council. Together they are building bridges and making a difference in their city.
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