On Wednesday, June 2, Campaign to End Qualified Immunity (CTEQI) coalition partners attended a rally to end qualified immunity (QI) in New York State. The event took place outside the New York State Capitol in Albany. The purpose of the rally was to call on state lawmakers to support a new bill, S 1991. Sponsored by State Senator Robert Jackson, S 1991 aims to end qualified immunity (QI) in New York State.
Senator Jackson helped organize the rally. The lawmaker is one of CTEQI’s coalition partners. Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and co-chair of CTEQI, spoke at the event as well.
Another partner who voiced their support at the rally with CTEQI partners was New York local Darlene McDay.
In 2017, guards at a maximum-security prison near Buffalo badly beat Darlene’s son, Dante Taylor. Traumatized by the assault, Dante took his own life. But because of qualified immunity, the bad guards weren’t held accountable.
As a result, Darlene McDay became a leading activist in the fight against QI.
“All I’m asking is for my day in court, for what happened to be presented to a judge and jury,” McDay said, per the Times Union. “If qualified immunity…denied [the] ability for my case to be presented, what type of state is New York?”
Some police organizations have “expressed concern over the prospect of curtailing qualified immunity” in New York State. However, as the Times Union indicates, a number of good cops believe abolishing the doctrine is the correct thing to do.
One of these good cops is retired Albany police chief Brendan Cox. Currently, he’s director of policing strategies at the LEAD National Support Bureau. Chief Cox also spoke at the rally to end QI in New York State. He backs Senator Robert Jackson’s bill, S 1991. He feels S 1991 won’t “negatively affect” those police officers who act “in a constitutional way.”
“We need police departments to be held accountable,” Brendan Cox said at the rally. “We need police departments to make sure they implement the right policies… [to change] the criminal legal system…”
And the legal experts, lawmakers, activists, and CTEQI partners present at Wednesday’s rally all agree. One of those “right policies” is S 1991, the bill to end qualified immunity in New York State.
Read more about the rally to end qualified immunity in New York State here.