HB 4, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, passed its first hurdle in the New Mexico House of Representatives. On Thursday, the House took a 39 to 29 vote on the House floor, per a recent article on the NM Political Report. Qualified immunity is one step closer to becoming old news in New Mexico.
Sponsored by Democrat Georgene Louis of Albuquerque and Acoma, the bill would end qualified immunity for cops who infringe on a civilian’s rights. It would also allow individuals in the state whose rights have been violated to sue for damages up to $2 million.
The bill next heads to the New Mexico Senate for consideration.
In an op-ed published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, former police officer Arthur Rinzer voiced his support for HB 4. He believes that ending qualified immunity would champion good cops and rebuild the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
“Few things are as frustrating to the good cop as the bad cop — the cop who abuses his trust by using unnecessary force, provoking unnecessary confrontations and treating members of the public with disrespect,” Rinzer writes. “Making it clear to the community that there will be real consequences for police misbehavior is an important step in rebuilding trust. And it also honors the service of officers who fulfill their duties with professionalism and respect.”