Police use of force would be legal only as an “absolute last resort,” the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James said Friday, endorsing a Democrat-sponsored bill in the state Legislature.
Current New York law allows “simple necessity” to justify an officer’s use of force, which sets an “exceedingly high standard” for prosecuting officers for deadly or excessive force, James’ office said in a release.
The Police Accountability Project would require law enforcement to exhaust every other option – such as de-escalation and verbal warnings — before resorting to force and would establish new criminal penalties for officers who use excessive force.
The plan drew immediate pushback from a police union leader. The president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York claimed it would make it “impossible” for officers to determine if they could use force, FOX 5 of New York City reported.
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“The only reasonable solution will be to avoid confrontations where force might become necessary,” PBA leader Patrick Lynch said. “Meanwhile, violent criminals certainly aren’t hesitating to use force against police officers or our communities. The bottom line: More cops and more regular New Yorkers are going to get hurt.”