New York Attorney General Seeks To End “Blanket Defense” For Police Use Of Force


New York Legal professional Basic Letitia James introduced laws on Friday geared toward establishing extra stringent use-of-force tips for all regulation enforcement officers throughout the state.

The package deal, generally known as the Police Accountability Act, seeks to amend present state legal guidelines which have “basically given police blanket protection to make use of pressure in interactions with the general public,” James stated. If handed, it will require that police exhaust de-escalation ways previous to utilizing pressure as a “final resort.”

An identical measure was adopted by New Jersey’s State Legal professional Basic Gurbir Grewal final 12 months.

The proposed New York laws would additionally increase the requirements through which police are permitted to make use of lethal pressure, requiring that officers have cheap perception {that a} suspect “would trigger loss of life or critical bodily harm to a different if not instantly apprehended.” Beneath the present regulation, officers could use deadly pressure based mostly on a perception that a person dedicated a sure felony offense.

“Whereas there are reliable causes that police have particular protections, these protections shouldn’t preclude them from being held accountable after they needlessly take the lifetime of one other individual,” James stated at a press convention on Friday.

She was joined by Senate Deputy Chief Michael Gianaris, State Senator Kevin Parker, Assemblymember Nick Perry, and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, all of whom stated they’ll work to move the laws.

The authorized modifications would assist James’ workplace prosecute circumstances through which officers use extreme or lethal pressure on the general public. Greater than 5 years after Governor Andrew Cuomo gave management of police killing circumstances to the Legal professional Basic, the state prosecutor has undertaken no less than 43 investigations, however secured no convictions.

Michael Sisitzky, senior coverage counsel at New York Civil Liberties Union, described the proposal as an essential a part of a broader police reform agenda wanted within the state. He pointed to the “overwhelming stage of state violence” utilized by police towards protesters throughout final summer season’s George Floyd demonstrations.

Earlier this 12 months, James sued the NYPD over its remedy of Black Lives Matter protesters, calling for a federal court-appointed monitor to supervise modifications within the division.

In a press release, Police Benevolent Affiliation President Pat Lynch stated the proposal would “make it unattainable for law enforcement officials to find out whether or not or not we’re permitted to make use of pressure in a given state of affairs.”

“The one cheap answer might be to keep away from confrontations the place pressure may grow to be essential,” he added.

Inquiries to the NYPD weren’t returned.