Democrats who run the state of New York along with their governor, Kathy Hochul, are actually flirting with a piece of legislation that would turn the country’s largest city into a crime-infested war zone.
Ahead of an election in November in which she faces GOP candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin, Hochul is refusing to say what her position is on “qualified immunity” for police officers, leading Zeldin to accuse her of lacking a “moral compass” even as crime surges and New Yorkers remain on edge, the New York Post reports.
Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects government officials such as police officers from being personally liable in civil suits if they did not violate the law.
The outlet adds:
New York City eliminated qualified immunity for the NYPD last year but several similar measures introduced in the state Legislature died in committee when its most recent session ended last month.
In a questionnaire submitted to Manhattan’s Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club before the June 28 Democratic primary, Hochul said she “supports efforts to increase accountability and transparency in law enforcement,” suggesting that she favored eliminating qualified immunity.
But when asked by The Post for clarification on the governor’s position, a spokesperson declined to elaborate, saying only that Hochul “will review the legislation if it passes both houses.”
The spokesperson refused to say whether Hochul would or would not sign such legislation. But if she does, she will be single-handedly responsible for a massive police “exodus” from New York, say seasoned cops.
National Police Foundation President Michael Palladino called Hochul’s waffling “a sure indication she prefers to lead from the back.”
“Stripping cops of qualified immunity spells even more trouble for innocent, law-abiding New Yorkers because it discourages cops from engaging on the public’s behalf while encouraging an already emboldened criminal population,” said Palladino, a former head of the NYPD’s detectives union, The Post reported.
“These are dangerous times and public safety is fragile, at best.”
Zeldin, who is leaving Congress in the fall, stated flatly that he supports maintaining qualified immunity for police and won’t get rid of it.
“Our amazing men and women in blue should be allowed to do their jobs without having to second guess themselves all day long, worrying that anyone and everyone they cross paths with may sue them personally for anything,” he said Tuesday.
The congressman from Long Island also said that the governor’s “pathetic failure to take a position on qualified immunity proves once again just how weak and unprepared she is to lead our state.”
“Hochul doesn’t take positions based on any moral compass,” he added.
“She just flaps away in the wind, only disclosing her positions when her political 8 Ball reveals what she should say and do next.”
“This is an election year, and she has to hedge her bets,” Lt. Paul J. Schettino of Fishkill, N.Y., told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “When the time comes time she will sign it because they [liberal politicians] are all disingenuous.”
Schettino told the outlet that he has served on the force in New York’s Hudson Valley since the late 1970’s.
“If qualified immunity is abolished there will be a mass exodus from law enforcement,” Schettino told the DCNF. “Because who will want to risk their house, their finances, and their freedom?”