The governor of New Mexico signed a bill on Wednesday lifting qualified immunity for law enforcement agencies
“[G]”We work tirelessly every day to protect these rights, to guarantee them and to protect the New Mexicans,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a statement.
“But when it comes to violations, we Americans know too well that the victims are disproportionately colored people and that too often there are barriers to fighting for these inalienable rights in court.”
Qualified immunity protects police officers from civil liability as long as they do not violate a clearly enshrined constitutional right of a person.
SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE DISCLAIMS “QUALIFIED IMMUNITY” CASE FOR THE POLICE
Wednesday’s legislation came amid the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd in a viral video that sparked nationwide protests last year. Both Colorado and Connecticut passed laws lifting the standard after Floyd’s death in 2020.
Lujan Grisham claimed that the law is not “anti-police” but “does not endanger a first responder or officer – as long as they behave professionally within the framework of our constitution and with deep and active respect for the sacred”. Rights guaranteed to all of us as New Mexicans. “
However, law enforcement advocates have been concerned about the impact of increased police surveillance.
Farmington, the New Mexico police chief, claimed the measure was incomplete, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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“It will bring some people justice in the state court,” said chief Steve Hebbe. “Municipalities and taxpayers will have to pay for it. It will be easier to sue the police, but it will not bring about police reform.”
Jim Pasco, Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, “It will have a chilling effect on the kind of appropriately aggressive police force that has helped drive crime rates to historic lows.”