Public Safety Advocates and Lawmakers Call for an End to QI in NY

Public safety advocates, lawmakers, and Brooklyn residents met outside Brooklyn Borough Hall on Friday, April 22, in support of S 1991, the bill to end qualified immunity in New York, reports News 12. 

The event was organized by a coalition of local grassroots organizations, End QI NY, VOCAL-NY, and the Red Hook Initiative. Speakers included assembly members Jo Anne Simon and Harvey Epstein and representatives from the offices of public safety advocate Jumaane Williams and state senator Julia Salazar. 

The group came together to call for transparency, accountability, and justice across the board, demanding that Albany lawmakers pass S 1991 and end qualified immunity. Recent statewide polling found that 58 percent of New Yorkers said they favor getting rid of the doctrine.

“Without public trust, without public safety, we cannot move forward and mend the relationships between our community and law enforcement,” said Gahrey Ovalle, co-leader of End QI NY. 

“In a justice system that permits qualified immunity to exist, there is no accountability or real justice. Qualified immunity has denied victims their chance of justice in the aftermath of misconduct from government officials and law enforcement, and it must end,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. 

“On the city level, we have been able to make some progress in limiting the scope and impact of qualified immunity for the NYPD, through legislation I was proud to co-sponsor,” said Jumaane Williams. “It is critical that we now enact state legislation for a true end to the policy in New York. Preventing liability for law enforcement, including at the Department of Corrections, leaves New Yorkers vulnerable to abuses without a path toward justice.”

Per News 12, the coalition of public safety advocates “will be marching up to Albany next week to further push for the passing of this bill.” 

Read more about the Brooklyn rally here.