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What to know about the Qualified Immunity legislation going into effect on Thursday.

June 30, 2021

This legislative session, New Mexico became the second state to eliminate qualified immunity after gun sense champion Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 4 in April. For decades, qualified immunity was one of many institutional barriers to accountability — and to meaningfully reducing the unacceptable toll of police violence in the state. 

Qualified Immunity is a judge-created doctrine that has developed in an unworkable barrier that makes it nearly impossible for victims of government misconduct who are hurt or killed to obtain monetary damages after a constitutional violation has occurred. Under the new law, New Mexicans whose rights have been violated at the hands of police violence will have a stronger pathway to hold law enforcement accountable. 

Throughout the session, alongside partners, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers and supporters sent over 328 email messages to New Mexico lawmakers, including over 252 email messages, in addition to numerous tweets, supporting HB 4. 

More research on police reform

  • Between 2016 and 2020, New Mexico had the second highest rate of people killed by police in the country. 
  • Research shows that police violence disproportionately impacts Black and Latino people across the country. In fact, in the last decade, Black people were two times and Latino people were one and a half times as likely to be killed by police in New Mexico.
  • Nationally, 95 percent of people killed by police are killed with guns, and almost no officer involved in fatal shootings is charged with a crime.
  • Every year, police in the U.S. shoot and kill more than 1,000 people. On an average day, police shoot and kill three people. 

Additional information on gun violence in New Mexico is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how New Mexico’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.

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