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New York AG endorses a Dem-supported law on the use of force by the police. Union leader shoots back


Police use of force would only be legal as an “absolute last resort,” New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office said Friday, approving a Democratic-sponsored bill in state law.

Current New York law allows the “simple need” to justify the use of force by an officer, which is an “extremely high standard” for prosecuting officers for fatal or excessive violence, James’ office said in a press release.

The police accountability project would require law enforcement agencies to exhaust all other options – such as de-escalation and verbal warnings – before resorting to violence, and impose new criminal penalties on officers who use excessive force.

The plan was immediately pushed back by a police union leader. The New York City Police Benevolent Association president claimed it would make it “impossible” for officers to determine if they could use force, New York City’s FOX 5 reported.

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“The only sensible solution will be to avoid confrontations that could require violence,” said PBA chief Patrick Lynch. “In the meantime, violent criminals certainly don’t hesitate to use force against cops or our communities. Bottom line: More cops and more regular New Yorkers are getting hurt.”

“Violent criminals certainly do not hesitate to use force against police officers or our communities. Bottom line: More police officers and more regular New Yorkers are injured.”

– Patrick Lynch, New York City Police Benevolent Association

Patrick Lynch, President of the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, speaks in New York City on August 2, 2019.  (Associated Press)

Patrick Lynch, President of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, speaks in New York City on August 2, 2019. (Associated Press)

James’ office defended the proposal, calling it the “most far-reaching use of violent reform in the nation”.

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“For far too long, police officers in this country have shirked responsibility for the unjustified use of excessive and deadly force,” James said in a statement. “The Police Accountability Act will make critical and necessary changes to the law, setting clear and legitimate standards for when the use of force is acceptable, and real ramifications if an officer crosses that line.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at her New York office for a press conference on Friday, May 21, 2021.  (Associated Press)

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at her New York office for a press conference on Friday, May 21, 2021. (Associated Press)

The plan would also remove the provision that allows officials to use lethal force against a person believed to have committed certain types of crime, reported FOX 5 in New York, “whether or not the person is committed to it Point in time poses a danger to the officer or another person. “

Under the plan, prosecutors could assess whether an officer’s behavior that led to the use of force was justified or whether it created an unnecessary situation that the current law does not allow.

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James said the plan would not apply to “split second” decisions.

“If your life or that of another person is threatened, it will not change those situations,” she said, according to FOX 5. “There are adequate safeguards that officials need in such situations that should not and will not change.” Change.”

State Senator Kevin Parker, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said the state’s current use of the term “excessive use of force” is arbitrary.

“This important piece of legislation corrects that and defines it in law,” he said. “This creates a reasonable expectation for both law enforcement and the people of our great state. Thank you to the Attorney General for your guidance on this important issue.”

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