The Fastest Way to Police Reform? End Qualified Immunity

police man wearing black officer uniform
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum on

The Fastest Way to Police Reform? End Qualified Immunity

I am sitting her watching CNN’s State of the Union and listening to Democrats in Congress talk about the police reform bill before Congress. One sticking point that seems to be derailing this bill is the ending of qualified immunity for police officers. So, what is qualified immunity?

In the United States, qualified immunity is a legal principle that grants government officials performing discretionary functions immunity from civil suits unless the plaintiff shows that the official violated “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known”.

Part of our Justice system is to protect defendant’s and people’s civil rights. When a police officer violates someones civil rights then people in this country should be able to take civil action against them for this Constitutional violation.

Former Congressman Justin Amash, who introduced the first bill following the George Floyd incident, had this to say back in March of 2020.

“Under qualified immunity, police are immune from liability unless the person whose rights they violated can show that there is a previous case in the same jurisdiction, involving the exact same facts, in which a court deemed the actions to be a constitutional violation. This rule has sharply narrowed the situations in which police can be held liable—even for truly heinous rights violations—and it creates a disincentive to bringing cases in the first place.”

Words are words. Too many politicians in D.C. say they are going to do something or in favor of real reform, but when something comes up that can really take care of the situation they all back down to powerful lobbying forces. Ending qualified immunity is the only sure way to guarantee that the American people are protected from an overbearing police force.

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