UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect a comment from NY GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy.
Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is trying to soften her opinion on qualified immunity, which shields police officers from civil liability, according to The New York Post.
Hochul’s office released a statement declaring that she would “review” legislation if passed by the New York State legislature, according to the NYP. The statement stands in contrast to one Hochul made prior to the Democratic Primary in June.
Previously in April, Hochul told the Liberal Democratic Club, a prominent progressive New York City club, that she “supports efforts to increase accountability and transparency in law enforcement,” according to their website. This led many to believe she was in favor of taking away qualified immunity rights.
The perceived shift in her opinion has caused many to question Hochul’s true beliefs on the issue, according to the NYP. Abolishing qualified immunity would allow police officers to be sued in civil court for alleged misconduct.
“This is an election year, and she has to hedge her bets,” Lt. Paul J. Schettino of Fishkill, NY told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “When the time comes time she will sign it because they [liberal politicians] are all disingenuous.”
Schettino told the DCNF that he has served on the force in New York’s Hudson Valley since the late 1970’s.
“If qualified immunity is abolished there will be a mass exodus from law enforcement,” Schettino told the DCNF. “Because who will want to risk their house, their finances, and their freedom.”
Hochul’s unclear position has caused many Republicans, including Republican New York Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, to illuminate the inconsistencies, the NYP reported. Zeldin accused Hochul of being weak and unable to lead the state.
“We are living in a twilight zone when our brave law enforcement heroes are treated like criminals and criminals are treated like heroes,” NY GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy told the DCNF. “Getting rid of qualified immunity would have a chilling effect on policing and officers’ ability to do their jobs. Kathy Hochul is pandering to the radical left and playing politics with our safety, that’s why electing Lee Zeldin as governor is our only hope to stop this nonsense.”
Confusion around Hochul’s stance comes at a time when New York City is seeing crime spike 36% higher than this time last year,, according to the NYPD.
Hochul’s office did not respond to the DCNF request for comment.
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