Bill: An automatic right to sue police?

Back in the summer, the New York City Council passed a pair of highly controversial bills that, in my opinion, inhibits police from doing their jobs and being effective, while adding another layer of bureaucracy to a department that simply doesn’t need it.

Now there’s some pushback on the issue (and since I write this column in advance of real-time events, things could change by the time this goes to press). But even if New York’s City Council awakens from its politically correct coma and comes to its senses, what they’re doing, or have attempted to do, is something that could cripple working police and change the whole landscape of policing in New York. Let me explain.

I have worked with NYPD officers on past cases, and interviewed many present or former NYPD officers in connection with columns, articles and books I have written. I have found those officers professional, well-trained and very, very good at what they do. I have a lot of respect for the NYPD and its personnel. On the other hand, I have very little respect for politicians, especially ones who embrace positions that spring from ignorance and the inability to understand exactly what police are up against.

According to news accounts I’ve read, what New York’s ruling council did was vote to broaden its definition of bias to include “actual or perceived” race, creed, color, age, citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability or housing status. One councilman explained that the bill basically says that anyone subject to any police action has an automatic right to sue the police. And while the bill doesn’t provide for monetary damages, it allows judges wider authority to negate the police process on some pretty nebulous and subjective grounds.

Although I haven’t been a big fan of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the past, he’s stood his ground on this one and voiced fierce opposition to this ridiculous piece of legislation. Bloomberg was hoping to have the ammunition he needed to veto it.

But whether or not this particularly odious bill is trashed or not, the implications of floating feel-good legislation that simply serves to make the already difficult jobs that police shoulder harder and more stressful should not be lost on the people it will affect the most: The citizens who rely on the NYPD for protection and crime-solving.

To tie an officer’s hands in this way is so stupendously dumb that I can hardly contemplate it without wondering how long competent police officers, under the constant threat of being sued by literally everyone they arrest, will want to stick around and work for a city that is apparently run by a majority of politically correct simpletons. To make every single identifier that a police officer could use to solve or prevent crime a matter of discrimination isn’t shortsighted. It’s just plain stupid.

Do minorities commit crimes? Do some people who commit crimes live on the streets or in public housing? Do individuals who are here illegally, who embrace certain religions, who fit into a certain age bracket or have certain identifiable beliefs commit crimes?

You bet they do. And when the powers that be in New York are finished ruining their fine department by making its police officers both afraid and incapable of doing their jobs because they’re busy being politically correct and worrying about whether or not they will be sued, I invite those fine officers to apply for positions in other parts of the country where cops are still allowed to do their jobs. Those of us in other parts of the country appreciate the officers of the NYPD even if many on their own council do not.

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