The City Council of New York is trying to end qualified immunity for law enforcement officers.
Qualified immunity is a doctrine that can lead to the dismissal of a lawsuit against a government official, including a law enforcement officer, if a judge rules the official is qualified under the doctrine and that the cause of action is not clearly established as a rights violation in law.
The qualified immunity doctrine is used in state and federal court, so it's unclear how a city can revoke the potential protection it provides to officers.
A legal expert contacted by POLICE, said in practice plaintiffs could file their suits in state courts within the New York City. The suit could also be filed simultaneously in state and federal court.
In an interview on WNYC's "The Brian Lehrer Show," Mayor Bill DeBlasio stressed that the bill won't have officers personally responsiblem according to ABC.
"It makes it easier if someone has a concern to bring a legal action, but it does not put the individual financial penalty on the officer," the mayor said. "It puts it on the department and the city, and that's what I was comfortable with."
From de Blasio's statement, it sounds like New York City will no longer try to have lawsuits against its officers dismissed under qualified immunity, which could result in many more settlements and judgments.