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See also the Legal Guidance on City Council Int. No. 2220-A and the Elimination of Qualified Immunity.

As you are likely aware, last month the Council passed yet another slate of outrageous bills that serve no purpose apart from further undermining police officers and the work we do.

A brief description of each of these bills appears in the gray box at the bottom of this page. With respect to Intro. 2220-2021, the so-called “qualified immunity bill,” members should know that the bill makes no changes regarding the City's indemnification of  police  officers who are subject to civil suits (see boxes below for explanation of the difference between qualified immunity and indemnification).

Instead, the bill removes the defense of qualified immunity from a new City Council-created cause of action related to searches, seizures and uses of force. Its elimination leaves police officers as the only public employees without an immunity defense for the good faith performance of our duties, which will only further fuel the anti-police movement's campaign to subject us to an entirely separate system of justice.

In the PBA’s view, these bills — like many previous anti-police bills — are being passed only because there is zero effective opposition from the Department, specifically from Police Commissioner Shea.

Time after time, Commissioner Shea and the Department have settled for tweaks to fundamentally flawed legislation.

Time after time, Commissioner Shea has used his public platform to apologize and make concessions to those whose goal is to demolish the NYPD and our entire profession. Police officers know this strategy of appeasement is failing, because we suffer the effects of their past compromises on every tour we work.

The PBA will continue to fight back against the anti-police tsunami in City Hall and Albany as we always have, but it will be supremely difficult to make any progress until the Police Commissioner and the Job draw a line and say — loudly and clearly — that the NYPD cannot continue to function under these conditions.

It is a legal argument created by courts, rather than by law, to protect not only police officers but other public officials from liability for performing their duties.

Police officers are entitled to protection under qualified immunity when:

  1. They perform their duties reasonably but mistakenly; or
  2. The alleged violation of rights was not “clearly established law” at the time it occurred.

City Council Intro. 2220-2021 does NOT remove the qualified immunity argument under state or federal law. It only removes it for lawsuits brought under the new city law.


Indemnification is the requirement that the city pay any damages — other than punitive damages — awarded in a civil lawsuit against an individually named police officer.

New York State General Municipal Law Section 50-K requires the city to represent and indemnify police officers as long as the member is acting within the lawful scope of his or her duties and is not in violation of any Department rule, regulation or procedure.

City Council Intro. 2220-2021 does NOT change Section 50-K or the city’s requirement to indemnify in federal and state cases.

  • Before taking ANY ACTION, be sure there exists a proper legal basis for taking such action;
  • Ensure that EVERY use of force is properly documented on all paperwork and all required notifications are made;
  • Obtain prompt medical attention for any injured prisoner or any individual exhibiting ANY signs of medical distress, regardless of perceived severity;
  • Remember that EVERY encounter is being recorded from multiple angles and can provide critical evidence in the event of a suit to show that your actions were properly taken;
  • Prepare every report carefully and NEVER sign your name to any report prepared by others (e.g. ADA’s criminal complaint) until you have read it completely and verified its accuracy;
  • Treat every job as though it will result in a lawsuit.


NY City Council Police Reform  Bills — Passed March 25, 2021

Int 2220-2021 - Introduced by Council Member Stephen T. Levin (“Qualified Immunity Bill”)
Creating a right of security against unreasonable search and seizure, and against excessive force regardless of whether such force is used in connection with a search or seizure, that is enforceable by civil action and requiring the law department to post.

The bill would establish a new local right of action against unreasonable search and seizure and against excessive force regardless of whether such force is used in connection with a search or seizure. If  an NYPD employee, or a person appointed by the Police Commissioner as a special patrolman, allegedly deprives a person of this right, the person would be able to bring a civil action against the employee or appointee, as well as against the employee or appointee’s employer, within three years after deprivation of the right. The employee or appointee (or their employer) would not be allowed qualified immunity, or any substantially equivalent  immunity, as a defense. The Law Department would be required to post details of these kinds of civil actions online.

Int 2212-2021 - Introduced by Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. 
Clarifying that the NYC CCRB has the power to investigate bias-based policing and racial profiling.

This bill would clarify that the Civilian Complaint Review Board has the power to investigate bias-based policing and racial profiling complaints made by the public. It would also provide that based on a final de- termination by the NYPD, the Board, the Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Investigation or a court that a member of the NYPD engaged in an act of bias, the Board would be empowered to investigate past professional conduct by the member. If the act of bias was “severe” (defined by the Board), the investigation would be required. After the member has had an opportunity to respond to the Board’s findings and recommendations, the Board would be required to provide final versions to the member, the Police Com- missioner and others. The Police Commissioner would have to respond in writing. The NYPD would be required to engage an independent consultant to review cases handled by the NYPD’s Equal Employment Opportunity Division between October 1, 2017 and October 31, 2020.

Int 2118-2020 - Introduced by Council Member Keith Powers
Press Credentials

This bill would give the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) sole authority to issue, suspend, and revoke press credentials. MOME would be required to establish rules setting forth criteria for press credential issuance, suspension, and revocation. Any person whose application for a press credential is denied would be entitled to a hearing. In addition, a hearing would be required before any press credential could be seized, suspended, or revoked. All hearings would be conducted by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) in accordance with the due process procedures of the Charter and the OATH rules. Press credentials previously issued by the Police Department would remain in effect until their expiration date or until 270 days after the effective date of this local law, whichever is later.

Int 1671-2019 - Introduced by Council Member Adrienne E. Adams
Requiring the police department to report on traffic encounters

This bill would require the New York City Police Department to issue a quarterly report on all vehicles stops. The report would include the number of summonses issued, arrests made, vehicles seized, related use of force incidents, and vehicles searched and whether consent was provided. This information would be disaggregated by precinct, race/ethnicity, and age of the driver.

Int 2224-2021 - Introduced by Council Member Ydanis A. Rodriguez
Establishment of a crash investigation and analysis unit within the DOT

This bill would require the department of transportation to create a crash investigation and analysis unit tasked with investigating, analyzing and reporting on all vehicle crashes involving significant injury. In addition to its crash investigation functions, the unit created by this legislation would be required to make recommendations for safety-improving changes to street design and infrastructure, and to post reports regarding its crash reviews on the department of transportation website.

Res 1538-2021 - Introduced by Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo
Remove the NYC Police Commissioner’s exclusive authority over police discipline. (S5252/A6012)

Non-binding resolution in support of state legislation.

Res 1547-2021 - Introduced by Council Member Francisco P. Moya
Require NYPD officers to live within the five boroughs of NYC. (S2984/A1951)

Non-binding resolution in support of state legislation.

Res 1584-2021 - Introduced by the Committee on Public Safety
Adopting a plan pursuant to State Executive Order Number 203

Enacting the Mayor's police reform.