As thousands fill the streets to support the movement for Black Lives, politicians are being forced to respond to calls for police accountability and transformational reform.
One of the most basic steps Congress can take is to end something called the “doctrine of qualified immunity.”
For decades courts have used this doctrine to shield police officers who violate a person’s rights from meaningful accountability. Even though Congress during Reconstruction passed the Ku Klux Klan Act to allow victims of egregious government misconduct to seek damages, the Supreme Court nearly a hundred years later created this huge loophole to block attempts to hold police accountable.
The Supreme Court ruled that police and other state officials had “qualified immunity” from civil suits unless the fundamental rights they violated were clearly established by existing case law. Time after time courts have agreed that police have used excessive force or violated people’s constitutional rights, but blocked suits against them under the doctrine of qualified immunity!
Now, there’s a bipartisan bill to restore the remedies Congress intended victims of deprivations of constitutional rights to have, but the Courts stole from them.
Tell Your Member of Congress to Support Meaningful Tools for Police Accountability!
Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) have introduced HR 7085 the End Qualified Immunity Act. As the name would imply, it would end qualified immunity. State officials who violate constitutional rights will no longer be able to claim that they thought they were acting lawfully or that those rights were not clearly established.
We need you to ask your member of Congress to End Qualified Immunity!
With the wave of police violence gripping the nation, now is the time for action. We know a single legislative remedy won’t solve all of the problems with police violence. But giving victims of governmental abuse of power remedies to hold officials accountable--as Congress intended when it passed the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871--is an important first step.
That’s why we need you to contact your representative today!
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