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To the editor:
Some state elected officials are advocating for the repeal of all qualified immunity for police officers. Some of the most extreme anti-cop officials and advocates sound like they would like to replace all police officers with unarmed social workers.
In an ideal world this might be a desirable goal, but the crime victims and cops know that we all need proactive police officers to arrest criminals and get them off the streets. Governor Kathy Hochul is currently against the repeal of qualified immunity for police officers.
Qualified immunity balances two vital public interests: The need to hold police officers accountable when they use their power irresponsibly, and the need to protect officers from harassment and personal liability when they perform their duties in an arguably reasonable way under the particular circumstances. In close cases, the benefit of the doubt usually goes to the police officer.
New York City has already stripped qualified immunity from police officers, but only for unreasonable searches and seizures, which includes excessive force claims.
Those elected officials and members of the public who don't support good cops, who are the majority of the NYPD, are just putting their anti-cop agenda before the protection of the public from criminals. Their righteous rhetoric masks their professional anti-police bias and makes it convenient for them to link bad police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri (Michael Brown); Louisville, Kentucky (Breonna Taylor); Minneapolis (George Floyd); Cleveland (Tamir Rice); and other out-of-state cases with NYC police officers. That is not only ridiculous, but grossly unfair.
Michael J. Gorman
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