A Legal Doctrine Used To Shield Police

Stop Police Brutality sign
William Anderson
November 12, 2020

From The Ku Klux Klan Act To Now

Relentless white terror targeted Black people during the Reconstruction Era. Congress responded with the Klu Klux Klan Act, which gave victims of state violence the right to sue. This has been weakened by judges for years, however, in the name of “qualified immunity.”

Where The Law Doesn’t Apply

Qualified immunity shields police and other government officials from accountability when they violate someone’s rights or break the law. The Supreme Court decided violating rights is acceptable, unless victims show their rights were “clearly established.”

What Does “Clearly Established” Mean?

When they say “clearly established,” it means officers are immune unless there was a case before that ALREADY decided their violation is wrong! If a court never officially said it was wrong before, they can get away with it.

How Qualified Immunity Can Plays Out

Shooting a child and tasing a pregnant woman for not signing a ticket are examples of actions courts said weren’t “clearly established” as violations. Lawsuits against police for brutality get dismissed this way, too.

What Needs To Be Done?

Qualified immunity needs to be ABOLISHED, not reformed! Since it was established in federal court in 1982, only the federal government can make it stop. The president, congress, and other officials have the power to end this travesty – we have to demand that they do so!

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