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Police Reform Without Qualified Immunity Reform Is Worthless

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Qualified Immunity

Billy Binion | 8.18.2021 5:29 PM

The bulk of the American public supports qualified immunity reform. It's not hard to see why: The legal doctrine allows state officials to violate your constitutional rights without fear of being sued. It has emboldened cops to commit some shocking misdeeds: killing innocent people, shooting children, beating people needlessly, and outright stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is at the very foundation of our culture of police un-accountability, which destroys trust and makes it more difficult for good officers to do their jobs.

So, naturally, the Senate has reportedly taken reform off the table, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

The proposal was part of the Justice in Policing Act, the legislation in the works since the death of George Floyd. Outright abolishing the doctrine was always a tough sell among Republicans. But Sen Tim Scott (R–S.C.), who is leading GOP negotiations, floated a compromise that would make law enforcement departments, not individual officers, liable for misconduct claims.

Though his proposal frustrated advocates who want to see more individual accountability, others thought it might be a decent middle ground, as many cities already indemnify officers against having to pay........

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