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New Mexico eliminates police immunity from prosecution

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed civil rights reforms Wednesday that eradicate police immunity from prosecution in state courts, in response to protests and issues about police brutality which have swept the nation.

Lujan Grisham signed the Democrat-sponsored invoice amid the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on homicide prices within the May 25, 2020, loss of life of George Floyd. Video of Floyd, shedding consciousness whereas pinned to the pavement by police officers, triggered a nationwide reckoning over racism and police brutality.

¨This is just not an anti-police invoice,” Lujan Grisham mentioned in a information launch. “This bill does not endanger any first responder or public servant — so long as they conduct themselves professionally within the bounds of our constitution and with a deep and active respect for the sacred rights it guarantees all of us.”

The Democrat-sponsored laws has implications for an array of state and native authorities companies throughout New Mexico, from faculty districts to sheriffs´ departments.

Liability for misconduct that violates particular person rights will fall upon authorities companies and never particular person public workers — with harm awards capped at $2 million.

The invoice was backed by an uncommon coalition of advocates for policing reforms and social justice causes. They embrace the civic-minded founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and the conservative-backed nonprofit group Americans for Prosperity, supported by billionaire Charles Koch.

Local governments and regulation enforcement leaders lobbied aggressively in opposition to the laws, dubbed the New Mexico Civil Rights Act. Civil rights complaints already will be introduced in federal courtroom, with limitless awards for damages.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis final year enacted police accountability laws that eradicated the certified immunity protection that protects police from misconduct lawsuits, and comparable measures are into consideration in a number of states.

Sponsors of the New Mexico laws embrace state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces and House speaker Brian Egolf of Santa Fe.

An unresolved ethics criticism by a former state choose accused Egolf of failing to reveal that his regulation agency handles civil rights litigation and allegedly stands to revenue from the laws to finish police immunity. Egolf known as the accusations frivolous and denied any violation of the state’s Government Conduct Act.

The Legislature sidelined a number of different proposed policing reforms, together with a invoice geared toward higher independence in misconduct opinions by police licensing authorities.

An accredited invoice from Republican Sen. Stuart Ingle and Democratic Sen. George Muñoz of Gallup will increase potential monetary payouts to relations of police officers who’re killed within the line of obligation to $400,000 from $250,000.

The invoice, nonetheless awaiting the governor´s signature, would guarantee some new coaching for police officers associated to strategies for de-escalating conflicts and interacting with individuals experiencing psychological well being issues.

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