To the Editor: The City Council just passed legislation that repealed qualified immunity for police officers. Qualified immunity for police officers means that those performing discretionary functions are immune from civil lawsuits unless it is proven that the officer violated statutory or constitutional rights that a reasonable police officer would have known about.
The repeal of qualified immunity, if signed into law by Mayor de Blasio, will put cops at risk of being personally liable for monetary damages if an officer is named in a lawsuit. Many lawsuits against police officers are frivolous and will eventually fail or be dismissed, but the fear of being sued and held personally liable for damages will drastically reduce proactive policing.
Proactive policing is the backbone of effective and courageous law enforcement, and without it, criminals, especially gang members and members of organized crime, will have the upper hand.
Any police officer who has worked in busy, high-crime precincts knows that the biggest problems in the NYPD are not overaggressive cops (who should lose their jobs), but cops who do as little as possible and count the years and days until they reach retirement at full pension.
Let's not have laws that discourage the active crime-fighters from protecting the public and putting the fear of God into career criminals.
MICHAEL J. GORMAN
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