When officers unjustly deprive someone of their life, liberty or property, like they did in the cases of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the victim’s family should have the opportunity to seek damages for the violation of their or their loved ones civil rights.
As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, citizens were permitted to sue state and local officials who violate their constitutional rights. Then in the 1960s, the Supreme Court began to chip away at this crucial protection and today, “qualified immunity” has undermined accountability for state actors and deprived so many of the justice they deserve.
According to the Institute for Justice, in just 2020, government officials have been shielded from the consequences of such bad actions as locking an inmate in a sewage-flooded cell, shooting a 10-year-old, holding a 14-year-old in solitary confinement for more than a month, body-slamming a 5-foot tall woman, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property for their own personal gain, and much more.
Qualified immunity is unfair to the families of victims, good officers, and taxpayers. It’s time to reform qualified immunity.
Sen. Mike Braun has introduced a bill that will reform qualified immunity while balancing the realities and difficulties surrounding a police officer’s job. This bill reforms certain defenses created by courts that have helped bad government actors go un-accountable while allowing immunity when their conduct was, at the time, authorized by law or the courts and they reasonably believed their conduct was in line with the Constitution or federal law.
Sign this letter to tell your lawmakers to support the Reforming Qualified Immunity Act.