Support for HB 4, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, is widespread as the bill heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee. These legislative updates come from the NM Political Report. The bill, which recently passed the House of Representatives, would eliminate qualified immunity in New Mexico.
In the Santa Fe New Mexican, Daniel Pauly contributed an op-ed with support for HB 4. In 2011, his son, Samuel, was fatally shot by a New Mexico police officer during a road rage investigation.
“Before my son was killed … I believed the legal system would not unfairly protect officers who took a life without justification. I thought . . . we would get a trial and my fellow citizens could decide what justice was due. This turned out to be untrue,” Pauly says.
Daniel Pauly took his case all the way to the Supreme Court. However, the Court threw out the case and handed the officer who killed his son qualified immunity, because there was no “clearly established” precedent.
“I firmly believe the abuses at the hands of police officers that have been seen around our country are, in part, due to the legal shield of qualified immunity that gives officers a free pass to avoid accountability,” continues Pauly. “ It shields officers and tells them they can shoot first and think later.”