Congressional Democrats have introduced Legislation to Strip Police of Immunity Protection but Trump says the move is a non-starter.
Three days after George Floyd was killed in the custody of Minneapolis police, the Supreme Court’s justices met privately to consider a raft of long-pending appeals asking them to review a legal doctrine that makes it difficult for many victims of abusive policing to sue the perpetrators.
The timing was coincidence, and the court has taken no action on the petitions. But the multitude of cases—including one from Minneapolis—underscores the power of qualified immunity, a rule the Supreme Court recognized in 1967, and later strengthened, to protect officials from the threat of litigation for most law-enforcement actions.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday said the administration would consider various proposals but called any changes to police immunity a nonstarter for President Trump.
Past Immunity Fiascos
The Supreme Court is about to tackle some cases. Meanwhile look at some past fiascos.
- Washington 2018: In a 2018 case from Washington state, a federal appeals court tossed a suit against an officer who allegedly pointed his gun at the head of a cooperative suspect and threatened to kill him. The court said suspects in those circumstances have a right not to have a gun pointed at them, but that right “was not clearly established at the time the events took place.”
- Georgia 2019: An Atlanta-based court ruled last year that an officer couldn’t be sued after he allegedly twice shot at an unthreatening dog during an arrest, accidentally hitting the knee of a 10-year-old who was lying on the ground nearby. The court said the conduct wasn’t clearly unlawful at the time.
- Nebraska 2019: A federal court covering the Midwest said it wasn’t clearly unconstitutional for a Nebraska officer to place a female misdemeanor suspect in a bear hug and throw her to the ground. The woman, who was allegedly disruptive during a swimming pool confrontation, lost consciousness and suffered a broken collarbone.
Supposedly pointing a gun at a man and threatening to shoot him was not yet a crime.
Nor was shooting an unthreatening dog and hitting a person.
And it was not "clearly" not wrong to break the collarbone of a woman in a bear hug with excessive force.
Those are examples. There hundreds more. People don't have money to press court cases they are destined to lose.
In other cases, the police department pays hush money to sweep the case out of sight.
Law and Order Trump
Trump continues his law-and-order stance, but he has that vote locked up anyway.
It's another bad move for Trump and the matter isn't even in his hands.
Why It's Impossible to Get Rid of Bad Cops
Neither Republicans nor Democrats want to tackle a key source of the problem: Public Unions.
Public unions coupled with immunity laws are Why It's Impossible to Get Rid of Bad Cops.
Minneapolis to Abolish the Police
Meanwhile a veto-proof Minneapolis city council threatens to abolish the police department.
I ask How Will That Work? but the city council cannot explain.