Efforts among a handful of states to hold police accountable for brutality and misconduct are expanding Thursday as New Mexico opens the door to civil rights lawsuits against government agencies in state court.
The New Mexico Civil Rights Act removes immunity provisions that shield government agencies from financial liability related to misconduct, though individual officials won’t pay for damages.
As the law takes effect, local police agencies are bracing for an onslaught of lawsuits that can carry liability awards of up to $2 million per event. At least one county sheriff’s department has been declined private insurance coverage — highlighting concerns about potential payouts.
The legislation, drafted amid nationwide protests over police brutality and institutional racism, reaches beyond law enforcement practices and applies to