Legislators from all over the country have changed the landscape of policing. United States senators have been working on police reform for quite some time and have come to an important conclusion.
Getting rid of “qualified immunity” seems to have been taken off of the table.
According to Politico, they seem not to be talking about the highly controversial provision anymore. Then, qualified immunity prevented people from taking civil legal actions against officers.
However, if an officer really did violate someone’s rights, qualified immunity is off the table. This is because the provision exists only to protect officers from civil suits, and the U.S. Supreme Court actually created the provision.
The rule gives officers the latitude to arrest people and make reasonable use of force decisions without fear of the people they are arresting bringing charges against them personally.
However, the arrestees are more than welcome to sue the department. Republicans have been in favor of keeping qualified immunity for officers. Democrats, on the other hand, want it to be gone.
In fact, according to Politico, they will “settle for nothing less than the total elimination of the doctrine.”
George Floyd Bill
George Floyd’s namesake bill made it through the Senate with the elimination of qualified immunity. However, it is considered a dead bill since it can not get the appropriate amount of filibuster votes.
U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Caroline, feels like they should not completely get rid of the provision for the sake of progress. However, other progressive Democrats feel that compromise is a no-go.
U.S. Senators Tim Scott and Cory Booker are working with Karen Bass to find a compromise. They have yet to meet one of their own deadlines, but they keep chipping away at it in the name of progress.
Even a visit from Floyd’s family did not bring them any closer to a resolution. As Democrats left for summer recess, none of them would speak openly about what is staying and what may be going.
Shifting liability to departments was discussed, though the idea was ultimately shut down. Both Scott and Booker have promised to work it out until a compromise is found.