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AFP Thanks Legislature for Passing Civil Rights Commission, Body Camera Legislation

Jun 23, 2020 by AFP

SANTA FE, NM – Americans for Prosperity-New Mexico (AFP-NM) today congratulated the legislature for passing SB 08 and HB 05. SB 08 is a bill that would increase body camera use for police and HB 05 is a bill that establishes a Civil Rights Commission.

The grassroots group ran statewide digital ads enabling citizens to contact their legislators in support of police and criminal justice reforms.

AFP-NM State Director Burly Cain issued the following statement:

“We applaud the legislators for taking these important steps that reform our state’s policing policies. These bills will help address structural barriers to good policing and ensure we have more accountability and transparency within our police forces.

“The Civil Rights Commission that will study qualified immunity is another needed step for our state in holding government to a higher standard than its citizens on what the law is and isn’t. We urge this new commission to create recommendations that can ensure that law enforcement and other public servants who have violated citizens’ civil rights and liberties will be held appropriately accountable. We urge Governor Lujan-Grisham to sign these bills without delay.”

Background:

Qualified immunity is a court-created doctrine that shields government officials, including police officers, from legal accountability in civil court even when they violate someone’s constitutional rights. Though qualified immunity will hopefully be restricted over time in court, New Mexico can take legislative steps now to limit its unjust use as a defense.

Police-worn body cameras are used by nearly half of U.S. law enforcement agencies and can benefit police officers and the public alike by providing additional transparency. Ideal body camera policies balance transparency and privacy concerns by incorporating clear rules for when recording is required and prohibited, and how footage is retained, destroyed, and accessed.