In this June 30, 2015, file photo, Rep. Jeff Evangelos, I-Friendship, speaks at a rally outside the State House in Augusta. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A legislative committee on Thursday voted 9-1 against a proposal to remove police officers’ protection from lawsuits.

Supporters said it was time to hold police accountable by making it easier to sue individual police officers for their actions. The bill was opposed by law enforcement agencies and others.

The bill’s sponsor, independent Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, contended the legal concept of “qualified immunity” protects bad police officers from being held accountable for misconduct, and he insisted that good police officers have nothing to fear from lifting the legal protection.

New York City and four states recently passed laws ending qualified immunity, making it easier for those who feel they were wronged by police officers to sue them for damages.

The judiciary committee’s vote all but kills the proposal. It will proceed with an “ought not to pass” recommendation.