Gounardes on the City’s Request for Borrowing Authority
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) issued the following statement, which is unclear if he supports the city’s request for borrowing authority,
“There’s no way around it: the City is in a deep financial hole because of the economic impact of Covid-19. We can and must invest in the services people need AND protect everyday New Yorkers from being saddled with skyrocketing property taxes they simply can’t pay. But let’s be real: the City’s budget has grown by $20 billion over 6 years and yet we still can’t afford to fully fund CUNY, hire full-time social workers and guidance counselors for every school, keep our parks and streets clean, and pay for other essential services. Something doesn’t add up.
“As this process plays out, I am laser-focused on getting back to basics and ensuring our City is able to maintain and invest in essential services and avoid layoffs without increasing taxes on already overburdened homeowners and renters. That is my sole and only priority. That means the City needs to do more to trim the fat. It’s time to build a city that invests in people – not tax breaks for luxury condo buildings, not pet projects of politicians and not protecting the wealthiest corporations’ bottom lines,” he said.
Rose Demands Answers on Reports of Russian Bounties
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) issued the following statement on reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan and the President’s claim to not have been briefed on the intelligence:
“Failing to respond to Russian bounties on American soldiers is an utter failure of leadership at the highest of levels. The Administration owes the American people, and more importantly our men and women in uniform, real answers and action. The Commander in Chief not knowing, whether true or not, is simply unacceptable. This isn’t political and shouldn’t be partisan—it’s about truly supporting our troops.”
Myrie to Introduce Bill to End Police “Qualified Immunity”
New York State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) will introduce a bill that would end “qualified immunity,” a legal shield that protects police officers from civil suits for misconduct.
“Victims of police brutality have been unable to receive relief because at every turn the courts have used the doctrine of qualified immunity to shield officers from liability,” said Myrie. “In the absence of federal action, it is important for New York to step up and show the public that when police officers violate an individual’s rights, we will hold them accountable for their misconduct.
“The bill places no limit on the amount of damages that can be awarded to the victim. There’s no ceiling because it allows the court to look at the facts of the case and award monetary damages or punitive damages to the victim accordingly which is meant, at bottom, to prevent the misconduct in the first place.
“Both liberal and conservative legal experts have agreed that this doctrine is antiquated and unfair. Shoot first, ask questions later is no longer acceptable which is why qualified immunity can no longer protect that approach to law enforcement. This isn’t about taking away life-or-death discretion from our officers, it is about examining that discretion when it has been improperly used to violate an individual’s constitutional rights. If law enforcement has the legal protection to take someone’s life, victims should have the legal protection to get justice when their rights have been violated.”
Myrie’s bill would allow people who suffer unjustly at the hands of law enforcement to recover monetary damages in civil lawsuits against police officers under New York State law.