The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would eliminate qualified immunity for police officers in the commonwealth in a narrow vote on Tuesday, setting up Virginia to become the first state in the union in which police officers could be sued for a wide variety of conduct standard to legal law enforcement work.
The bill passed when it was voted upon for the second time, after a provision that would’ve held police departments accountable for behavior of off-duty police officers was stripped from the legislation.
Chesterfield, Virginia Police Chief Jeffrey Katz criticized the legislation, stating that it would lead to a climate in which Virginia police officers decline to respond to public emergencies, criminal acts and threats to public safety out of fears that they’ll face years of costly litigation, potentially from criminals who have demonstrably committed crimes.
“What you’re going to have is officers making the decision, that I better wait,” he explained in an interview on Wednesday. “When you start to look at legislation of this nature… you have to make that calculated decision whether it’s worth it to come to work everyday and subjecting yourself not only the possibility of physical injury, but years and years of litigation.”
The legislation will lower the burdens for potential lawsuits against law enforcement officers in Virginia, and will allow them to be filed in any court in the state.
The Governor of Colorado signed legislation that instates a new set of regulations and requirements upon law enforcement of the state, but the Law Enforcement Integrity Act stops well short of eliminating qualified immunity int the state.
Virginia could be preparing itself for a public safety model in which law enforcement primarily exists as a prop, mainly serving to march in gay pride parades and instruct the public to obey the laws on social media without engaging in meaningful law enforcement work.
Billionaire Mike Bloomberg Pays $16 Million in Fines of Black and Hispanic Felons to Enable Them to Vote
Billionaire and former New York City Mayor has raised $16 million dollars to pay off outstanding fines of Black and Hispanic felons in Florida, according to reporting from Axios on Tuesday. Florida restricts the voting rights of convicted criminals until they’ve paid off fines levied for their crimes by the criminal justice system.
It appears that Bloomberg’s fine repayment initative was only available to Black and Hispanic felons. Axios reported that to qualify for Bloomberg’s money, applicants had to have outstanding fines of less than $1,500, be already registered to vote, and to be Black or Latino.
White felons need not apply.
The program has reportedly already cleared the fines of 32,000 felons in the state, enabling them to vote in the election. It erases the punitive aspect of the court system’s fines, which were levied in the first place in order to require convicted criminals to personally make amends for their actions.
Bloomberg’s felon bailout giveaway is legally questionable, and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has requested that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody investigate what he’s doing. If he’s paying felons to vote for any one specific candidate, Bloomberg is in violation of campaign finance rules and could be liable to serve jail time .
#BREAKING: I'm calling on the Florida Attorney General to launch an investigation into @MikeBloomberg for potentially engaging in bribery and vote buying in the state of Florida. pic.twitter.com/2pAjZlAwSh
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 22, 2020
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right,” said a Bloomberg spokesperson when asked about the fine repayment initiative. But it doesn’t seem as if the failed Democratic primary candidate is willing to buy back the voting rights of individuals who might be less inclined to vote for Joe Biden in November.
Bloomberg already tried and failed to buy the nomination in the Democratic primary, and now he’s trying to buy the crucial swing state of Florida for Joe Biden. Corrupt oligarchs should not be allowed to abuse the political system with impunity.
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