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AFP-NM Speaks in Support of Reforming Qualified Immunity Laws, HB 4

Feb 5, 2021 by AFP

SANTA FE, NM – Americans for Prosperity-New Mexico (AFP-NM) today participated in a press conference with the ACLU-NM, former state Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson, state Representative Georgene Louis, and two criminal justice advocates who have experienced police misconduct. The coalition spoke in support of HB 4, based on recommendations from the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission, that would bar the use in state courts of the qualified immunity defense and make agencies accountable when depriving citizens of their constitutional rights.

Watch the press conference here.

Brenda Boatman, Community Engagement Director for AFP-NM spoke at the conference:

One area that needs dire improvements is our criminal justice system. This is something people and organizations from across the political spectrum can agree on.

When someone acting in an official government capacity, such as a police officer, violates a citizen’s constitutional rights, certain laws and immunities protect them from liability, regardless of the damage they’ve caused to regular New Mexicans. This undermines individual rights, allows wrongdoers to escape accountability, and leaves victims with no way to address the injustice in court.

This bill would put an end to that – allowing New Mexicans that have had their constitutional rights violated to have their day in court. It opens that avenue to allow justice for victims and strengthens our state constitution.

The current status quo is unacceptable – which is one reason support for immunity reform is bipartisan.

We are honored to work with these amazing individuals, organizations, Speaker Egolf, Representative Louis, and other legislators who recognize that our criminal justice system needs more accountability when the government violates our rights.”

Background:

Reforming the state’s immunity laws is a priority for AFP-NM. The grassroots group is educating New Mexicans across the state about the need to pass HB 4.

In December, AFP-NM’s Brenda Boatman and state Rep. Daymon Ely published an op-ed on working together towards a better criminal justice system.