Let’s talk about qualified immunity. It sounds boring, but it’s actually really really important.
The doctrine of qualified immunity is the reason cops behave as if the law doesn’t apply to them, because legally speaking, it doesn’t.
It is well known that prosecutors rarely bring criminal charges against police officers, and indeed It seems unlikely George Floyd’s killer would have been charged had the assault not been captured on a viral video. This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from consequences for violating the rights of the people whom they have sworn to serve.
Protests are raging across the country and beyond, and people of all walks of life demand justice. Instead of investigating the incident, the US Supreme Court is stonewalling petitions on several cases on qualified immunity policy for police officers. Yesterday, they were supposed to announce whether they intend to look into revoking the doctrine of qualified immunity, yet the decision was postponed once again.
The situation is outrageous on all counts, but mere outrage will not bring an end to the violence. Only through a movement built on a knowledge of the law, mass action and work amongst all peoples, colours and creeds, will we hold the state forces of institutional violence accountable for their crimes.
So what can be done?
In determining the relationship between government and governed, one of the most important decisions a society can make is how accountable those who wield official power must be to those against whom that power is wielded.
This is where U.S. Representative Justin Amash‘s “Ending Qualified Immunity Act’ comes in. It is being introduced on Thursday and it is designed to eliminate the doctrine of qualified immunity.
Please do whatever you can to put pressure on the US Supreme Court and your state officials, google qualified immunity, educate people and spread the word.
This isn’t the time for silence. #Blackouttuesday is cool and all, but judicial activism is the only way out of this mess.