A new poll reveals that an outright majority of New Yorkers, 58 percent, favor ending qualified immunity (QI) for public officials. Per the Times Union, “About 753 voters answered a survey in February commissioned by End QI NY, a grassroots group working to abolish the doctrine.”
S 1991, a bill currently moving through the New York state legislature, would end QI for public officials such as police officers and corrections officers, allowing “individuals who allege their rights have been violated to file lawsuits against the accused officials, where the qualified immunity defense would be prohibited,” notes the Times Union.
The new poll confirms that qualified immunity is a public safety concern in the Empire State, and ending it is a top priority for New Yorkers. What’s more, these new poll numbers reflect the overall national demand for repealing the court-created rule: Last June, a Vox poll found that 66 percent of Americans are keen on curbing QI protections for bad cops.
Other new poll findings include:
- 67 percent of New Yorkers accept that an officer who violates someone’s rights should be immediately terminated and have their license revoked.
- 61 percent say eliminating qualified immunity for police officers would help weed out bad apples, resulting in better police and safer communities overall.
- 52 percent believe that qualified immunity lets public officials operate with impunity, resulting in more civil rights violations and less community trust in our government.
“Ending qualified immunity is not only the right thing to do, it is the popular thing to do,” said Katerina Siira, co-leader of End QI NY, responding to the new poll’s findings. “Our campaign has been speaking to and building with New Yorkers throughout the state over the last year and a half, so we have known this all along. Now we have the data to back it up: from Western New York to Long Island, New Yorkers want the NYS legislature to take action to protect our rights and make our state safe for everyone.”