Lawmakers push back on Hochul’s reluctance to end qualified immunity

State lawmakers in New York are pushing to repeal something they never chose to put in place.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted law enforcement, government and other public officials qualified immunity in a legal doctrine in 1967, barring people from filing civil lawsuits against an official who violates their rights.

Dozens of advocates and state lawmakers rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday calling for an end to qualified immunity and protecting law enforcement and public officials from civil litigation in New York a day after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her opposition to the proposal.

“We want all individuals that are dealing with the public to be transparent, to be honest to be straight-forward to be respectful and not to violate their rights, and if you violate their rights, then you need to be held accountable,” bill sponsor Sen. Robert Jackson said.

Jackson, a Manhattan Democrat, said that protection has given public officials leeway in how they treat people on the job.

Lawmakers and activists say it’s a part of the national legal structure that must be dismantled to ensure no person is above the law.

But Hochul says she doesn’t support repealing qualified immunity, and the protection should remain in place.

At a public safety event in Albany on Tuesday, she said it would be the incorrect action in wake of the ongoing shortage of law enforcement officers and her desire to foster positive attitudes about police.

“An area we do not want to have a shortage is o