End qualified immunity for police officers and departments that violate Americans’ constitutional rights.
The House and Senate are debating the Justice In Policing Act 2020. We need an end to qualified immunity.
The bill also put more money into police departments instead of in Community initiatives. We need to redirect funds and prioritize investment in community health, education, and housing.
Background: Why we need to End Qualified Immunity For PolIce Officers
According to a National Academy of Sciences study black men are two-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by law enforcement over their lifetime than white men. Over the course of their lives, approximately one in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police.
1000 people were killed by police last year.
This 50-year-old creation of the U.S. Supreme Court is meant to protect government employees from frivolous litigation. In recent years, however, it has become a highly effective shield in thousands of lawsuits seeking to hold cops accountable when they are accused of using excessive force. Qualified immunity stops lawyers from taking valid cases
According to Reuters, at least 529 federal circuit court opinions published from 2005 through 2019 involving cops accused of excessive force raised a qualified immunity defense.
Current Provisions of The Justice in Policing Act of 2020:
- Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
- Bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
- Mandates the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal offices and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
- Establishes a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or on leave from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
- Amends federal criminal statute from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct.
- Reforms qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
- Establishes public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches.
- Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Task force on 21st Century policing.
- Requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
- Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
- Establishes a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.