Top Senate Progressives Introduce Bill To End Qualified Immunity For Police

Three Senate progressives introduced a bill on Wednesday that would end qualified immunity, which shields police from civil lawsuits, CNN reports.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Edward Markey introduced a bill that would scrap the legal doctrine created four decades ago by the Supreme Court, which shields police from accountability.

The bill would prevent police officers from claiming qualified immunity as a defense for violating the law.

Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley and independent Rep. Justin Amash introduced a similar bill in the House last month. The bill has accumulated 60 co-sponsors.

The House also included a rollback of qualified immunity in a sweeping police reform bill passed last week, but that bill is not expected to see a vote in the Senate.

Qualified immunity becomes reform focal point:

“In recent years, legal scholars, judges and justices on all sides of the ideological spectrum have criticized the legal doctrine, arguing that it is not grounded in the proper legal authorities and too often shields officials from accountability,” CNN reported.

"Qualified immunity makes it almost impossible for a victim of excessive force by a police officer to hold that officer accountable in a court of law. That must end," Markey told CNN. "If we want to change the culture of police violence against Black and Brown Americans, then we need to start holding accountable the officers who abuse their positions of trust and responsibility in our communities."

Republicans say no way;

Sen. Tim Scott, the author of the GOP police reform proposal and the lone Black Republican in the Senate, said that rolling back qualified immunity is something “that most Republicans don't like at all, to include myself."

The White House and Attorney General Bill Barr have said that the rollback is a “nonstarter.”

Indiana Republican Mike Braun pushed the GOP to back a rollback of qualified immunity but found that it was “dead on arrival.”

"I wanted to reform it, hit a sweet spot where it helps police out, hold the bad apples accountable," Braun told CNN. "We didn't want to go there."


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