We have new legislation on police reform and part of that bill wants to end ‘qualified immunity’….but is this situation really?
Qualified immunity is a type of legal immunity. “Qualified immunity balances two important interests—the need to hold public officials accountable when they exercise power irresponsibly and the need to shield officials from harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform their duties reasonably.”
Specifically, qualified immunity protects a government official from lawsuits alleging that the official violated a plaintiff‘s rights, only allowing suits where officials violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right. When determining whether or not a right was “clearly established,” courts consider whether a hypothetical reasonable official would have known that the defendant’s conduct violated the plaintiff’s rights. Courts conducting this analysis apply the law that was in force at the time of the alleged violation, not the law in effect when the court considers the case.
Qualified immunity only applies to suits against government officials as individuals, not suits against the government for damages caused by the officials’ actions. Although qualified immunity frequently appears in cases involving police officers, it also applies to most other executive branch officials. While judges, prosecutors, legislators, and some other government officials do not receive qualified immunity, most are protected by other immunity doctrines.
in short this statue protects these offenders from being held accountable for their actions.
Here are a few examples of this situation….
Here’s a list from USA Today of outrageous examples where qualified immunity has recently shielded reckless government officials from accountability:
- Officers who stole $225,000.
- A cop who shot a 10-year-old while trying to shoot a nonthreatening family dog.
- Prison officials who locked an inmate in a sewage-flooded cell for days.
- SWAT team members who fired gas grenades into an innocent woman’s empty home.
- Medical board officials who rifled through a doctor’s client files without a warrant.
- County officials who held a 14-year-old in pretrial solitary confinement for over a month.
- A cop who body-slammed a 5-foot-tall woman for walking away from him.
- Police who picked up a mentally infirmed man, drove him to the county line and dropped him off at dusk along the highway, where he was later struck and killed by a motorist.
If an individual, a civilian, committed any of these offenses then the rule of law applies…..but not when the individual wears a uniform.
But not to fear these offenders will still be shielded from accountability for the bill will not be sent out of Congress for the president’s signature……
A compromise to the portion of the bill on “immunity” has been offered by GOP senator Tim Scott……“Scott, who has served as the Republican leader on police reform talks, is suggesting that the doctrine be pulled back for law enforcement and that liability shift from individual cops to the departments that employ them.”
This proposal still does not punish the individual just shifts it to his/her employer….the individual still walks on the offenses they commit.
This is unacceptable!
If I am personally responsible for my actions then the individual cop should as well….this will do little to correct the culture of violence by the police.
I can see the Dems caving to this proposal so that bi-partisanship can be claimed….and once again the Dems will illustrate that they have no spine.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”