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Escape from NY: Big Apple ends qualified immunity for police

If the remaining members of the NYPD who have somehow stuck with their jobs amid all of the police defunding and abolishment talk still haven’t found a reason to flee the Big Apple, the City Council may have just delivered the straw that breaks the law enforcement camel’s back. The Council voted this week to end qualified immunity for law enforcement officers as part of a package of so-called “police reform” bills. Given his previous track record, Mayor Bill de Blasio will almost certainly sign it into law. Meanwhile, many of the remaining members of the New York City Police Department have to be wondering why they signed up for this job in the first place. (CBS New York)

The New York City Council voted Thursday to end qualified immunity for police officers.

The decades-old protection has prevented officers from being sued or liable for misconduct.

New York is now the first city in the country to end qualified. The measure was passed as part of a package of police reform bills.

The reality is that police officers who are found to have gone bad and broken the law are regularly punished in ways that include the loss of their jobs and even jail time when appropriate. Qualified immunity was not put in place to protect bad cops. It was implemented to prevent cops from becoming the targets of endless frivolous lawsuits by disgruntled suspects and their families.

Here’s a short video of de Blasio discussing his vision of “police reform.”

The result of this change is easy to predict. If NYPD officers are out patrolling the streets and they know that taking down a violent suspect could land them on the wrong end of a lawsuit costing millions of dollars, they’re going to have even more incentive to stay in their cars. As New York City has been learning over the past couple of years, less law enforcement activity translates to higher crime rates across the board. The gangs of New York are no doubt celebrating this news, as the business of being a criminal just became even easier.

But it’s not just a matter of cops being more reluctant to actually do their jobs. As we’ve covered here in the past, NYPD officers have been taking early retirement or simply quitting to move elsewhere in increasing numbers ever since Mayor Bill de Blasio declared his de facto war on the police. The constant chatter at City Hall and on the City Council about defunding the police and “holding them accountable” has led to sinking morale and more cops giving up on the idea of continuing in their careers, at least in Gotham.

Though some cops were already going to be packing their bags thanks to budget cuts imposed by the city to “defund” them, this attrition of the force is going be leaving openings that the city will almost certainly have a hard time filling with the best-qualified candidates. Who in their right mind would want to consider moving to one of the most expensive places to live in the world and join the NYPD after seeing the treatment they have been receiving from the municipal government?

Fewer cops. Less qualified cops. More crime. It’s no wonder that the Big Apple has been experiencing the largest and most rapid population decline of any city in the country. Don’t expect this week’s news to turn that trend around.