Democrats in both chambers of Congress have reintroduced legislation to get rid of qualified immunity for law enforcement personnel in order to make it easier for alleged victims of police brutality to file lawsuits, Fox News reported on Tuesday.
“There will not be true racial justice until we end qualified immunity,” said Sen. Ed Markey, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation.
The proposal comes as the House readies to look into additional legislation concerning police reform this month.
“We must fully end the doctrine of qualified immunity, which for too long has shielded law enforcement from accountability and denied recourse for the countless families robbed of their loved ones,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley, another of the bill’s co-sponsors and a member of the the so-called progressive Squad.
She added that “We must be bold and unapologetic in our pursuit of policy that… addresses the crisis of police brutality plaguing Black and brown communities.”
Pressley and former Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash first introduced the proposal last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The bill states that the qualified immunity doctrine does not provide police officers who violate civil rights with defense or immunity from liability for their actions.
If qualified immunity is done away with, many more lawsuits against police could move on to a trial or settlement, and police departments would most likely have increased difficulties finding insurance carriers willing to carry the additional risk.
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