New proposal to end the “qualifified immunity” held by police


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 
The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

Justin Amash, former Republican and almost certainly to be out of Congress after the 2020 elections, has proposed a law that would eliminate the “qualified immunity” that police presently enjoy that prevents anyone from suing them personally for any egregious acts they commit.

U.S. Representative Justin Amash, a former Republican turned Libertarian, won support from a Minneapolis Democrat on Monday for his “Ending Qualified Immunity Act,” which would allow civil lawsuits against police, a recourse that the Supreme Court has all but done away with.

The high court’s adoption of the qualified immunity doctrine has largely shielded police from financial settlements for victims or grieving families. The doctrine protects cops even when courts determine that officers violate civil rights

As my wife Diane so eloquently notes, two things protect the police when they commit crimes, this qualified immunity and their police unions. If we want police to start behaving properly, we need to eliminate both. This law at least addresses the former.

Sadly, the bill probably stands little change of passage, mostly because of the Congressman proposing it. Amash used to be part of the very conservative Republican Freedom Caucus in the House. He then became a NeverTrumper willing to abandon all his principles (and his party) while sticking a knife in the backs of his former allies. This is why he is no longer a Republican, and why he almost certainly will be dumped come the 2020 elections.

No matter how wise his proposal might be, he has burned all the bridges he once had for getting any support. While he might get some in the Democratic Party to back him, most will turn their noses up at him because he is a former Republican. And the Republicans now want nothing to do with him.

This bill will unfortunately die, even though it is actually targeting very precisely one of the main causes of most police abuse. Such rationality is no longer given much play in our society. Instead, everyone else seems more interested in spouting hate and anger and rioting and destroying the lives of innocent people, out of blind emotional rage.

Such is a response now to the horrible murder by police of George Floyd. And it really is no different than the insane response to COVID-19: Rather than focusing rationally on the actual problem, our leaders — egged on by too many in the general population — instead focus on blaming and oppressing the wrong people.

Readers!
 

We are now in the third week of my annual July fund-raiser for Behind the Black. My deep thanks to everyone who has so far donated or subscribed. The response this year has been wonderful.
 

We are not done yet. This monthly fund-raiser is now half over, and I am hoping the second half will result in as many donations as the first half did. If it does, I will remain free to continue my writing as I see fit, unblemished by the efforts of others to squelch my perspective in this increasingly intolerant world.
 

This year's fund-raising drive is also significant in that it celebrates the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.
 

Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

23 comments

  • brightdark

    Remove qualified immunity for prosecutors as well and we might be on to something.

  • Andrew_W

    He then became a NeverTrumper willing to abandon all his principles (and his party) while sticking a knife in the backs of his former allies.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Amash#Political_positions

    Looks like he’s always been libertarian leaning, so what principles are you alleging that he’s abandoned?
    Trump is no libertarian, so I see not clash with his principles and being a “NeverTrumper”.

  • Ken

    BD – agreed.

    I was thinking today about what it’s like to be a cop in a large US city. Dealing every day with the destitute, homeless, drugs, vandalism & violent crime… and how that must lead to some manner of PTSD after time…. and then, something like this breaks out – and the only people that have their back are others in blue.

  • Cotour

    If this is a good idea, then lets have the immunity for elected politicians removed. Congress persons, Senators, presidents executive immunity etc. No one who does a job where they might have liability when executing their fiduciary responsibilities should have immunity.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Word of advice.
    So not rely on Wikipedia as a source.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Cotour,
    For congress-critters, it would take as amendment.

  • Andrew _W

    Sippin_bourbon, if you don’t agree with the references I use, offer your own.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Wikipedia founder Larry Sang:
    https://larrysanger.org/2020/05/wikipedia-is-badly-biased/

    I was not commenting on regards to Justin Amash. Just your choice of a source.
    I use it as a place to find sources ( because they are supposed to.have sources for every thing), but as its reputation he been floundering for some years, I avoid it as a direct source.

    My daughter has told me for the last eight years in both high school and at university, Wikipedia was unacceptable as a direct source on papers. My father, a teacher, also disallows it.

    In short, because it can be edited unfavorably or favorably depending on the topic, you may easily miss information.

    As for a source, you seem smart enough to do your own research.

  • Andrew _W

    Well, I guess I can’t argue with you, unless you’re one of those people that condemns wiki as biased and then goes and offers up something written by an opinionated blogger as superior evidence.
    Oh wait, you just did.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Unless one also implements the so-called “English Rule” which requires the losers of civil lawsuits to pay the legal costs of the other side, all the Amash legislation would accomplish is subjecting every cop in the U.S. to potentially unlimited phony lawsuits. That, in turn, would lead to cops effectively ceasing to do their jobs as there is another long-standing legal doctrine which exempts police from responsibility for preventing any particular violation of the law owing to their inability to be physically everywhere at once.

    This proposal, in isolation, isn’t a solution to anything.

  • wayne

    Sippin_bourbon-
    Good stuff.

    Andrew_W-
    Ref: Wikipedia–look up the entry for radio-host Mark Levin. It contains endless lies, that he is unable to correct, that stretch back more than a decade.
    Ref-Amash–he’s well known along the south-west coast of Lake Michigan, but he’s not well loved.

    Tom Woods Show Ep. 1410
    The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics
    May 2019
    https://youtu.be/ovIkskv0wGg
    35:11

    Ref- “qualified immunity,” — I’ll pivot to the banking-industry; before FDR got his fingers into the pie, Bank Officers were personally liable if their bank went bust.

  • LocalFluff

    They would do like surgeons, get insurances and put all they own in off shore trusts unavailable to American courts. And police salaries would multiply. Being police, or surgeon, is a dirty job, Sometimes people die because you didn’t pay attention. When I don’t pay attention, I can do it right tomorrow. People whose job is about life and death in real time don’t have that option much. I think that this has to be respected and that laws that separate the policeman as a person from his professional role are well motivated.

  • pzatchok

    Remove that protection and the only people to come out ahead will be lawyers.

    Plus you will never get another person to be a cop again. You would have to pay them like they were brain surgeons.

    Presently nothing is stopping someone from suing the police department.

    This was only proposed to make him look good to the voters.

    The best thing Obama ever did was order all police officers to have a body cam. Now if we can just get them to have tamper proof ones we would be even better. As it stands now some allow the officer to turn them off in case of personal time. Some can be turned off in the office or in their car.
    Sorry they should ALL be required to be charging when not on the officer and all data to be automatically uploaded to a main server every time its plugged into the charger after the officer comes off duty.
    There should also be car cams running all the time also.
    This will protect everyone.

  • Andrew_W

    Wayne: Wikipedia . . . the entry for radio-host Mark Levin. . . contains endless lies. . .

    Since you’ve stated that as fact no doubt you’ve proof of your claim. Care to share?

  • sippin_bourbon

    It was just advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t care.
    Just don’t expect to be taken seriously if you rely on it.

  • wayne

    Andrew_W-
    Ah…. no.

  • LocalFluff

    People feel an instinctive hatred towards lawyers, for good reasons! If we had a good law, there would be no use for them. “If you take this from me, then an eye for a tooth”, or something. It’s that simple! Moses understood this some thousands of years ago, with the first of his ten laws being that everyone has to obey him, and only him, and nobody else but him. And then some gibberydash about whatever. Who cares. As if I would stop sleeping with my sexy neighbor, yeah, right, that will happen, not much. You gotta cut a part of my dick off to make that not happening (And heck, the jews do! What a horrible oppression the jewry is)

  • m d mill

    Murder is any killing committed purposely and knowingly, manslaughter is any killing committed as a result of recklessness, and negligent homicide is any killing resulting from negligence.
    The death of G Floyd was not “murder”, but almost certainly criminal manslaughter of some degree.
    There is no evidence that this was racially motivated, but if so there is just legal recourse by the black Attorney General of Minnesota, and many other elected and unelected officials.
    There is evidence this was motivated by resistance to arrest or detainment.
    G Floyd would be alive if he had not resisted detainment, which was the original criminal recklessness.
    Black on black murders =2500 per year (2016)
    white on black murders =240
    black on white murders = 530
    white on white murders = 2800
    see:
    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-3.xls

    Antifa, Black lives matter, and all the rioters/demonstrators are not acting out of concern for murder of Negro people, but because of their own racist or racialist predisposition, irresponsibility, inadequacy, and in many cases a simple desire to loot and destroy when possible.

    If police qualified immunity was removed forget about police effectiveness to protect and serve…why should they risk doing anything, in any situation? The hysterical knee jerk reaction to remove this long held and effective immunity is just as inane as the knee jerk covid-19 national lockdown response.
    Good people support the police generally…but then Good people also do not resist police detainment (even if the officer is on rare occasion overbearing), act with respect, and are not sociopathically violent.

  • pzatchok

    LocalFluff,

    Have you gone off your Meds?

    I am starting to worry.

  • sippin_bourbon

    “G Floyd would be alive if he had not resisted detainment”
    Death by asphyxiation for resisting arrest is a little harsh.

    They are trained to deal with unarmed suspects that resist arrest, and it certainly appears they deviated from that training.

  • sippin_bourbon

    “Antifa, Black lives matter, and all the rioters/demonstrators…”

    There is a growing body of evidence that these two are not as intertwined as previously thought.
    A growing number of BLM leaders (and other non-affiliated protest leaders) that they do not condone and do not direct the looting and vandalism done by rioters.

    In my local area, they have specifically ended each of their protest events formally, saying anything else after this, you are on your own, and it is not part of us.

    There are also numbers videos appearing on the web/twitter-space where members of black communities are pushing back on the anarchist protesters (mostly Antifa, it seems), who are white kids in the late teens and early 20s who are committing the violence or trying to direct the violence, but using the name of BLM and other protest groups.

    That assertion appears to be true in the cities in my area of the midwest. I cannot speak for the coasts, or down south.

  • Phill O

    Frivolous law suits will explode. Here is an example of abuse of the system:
    https://www.oann.com/alcu-of-minn-files-lawsuit-on-behalf-of-journalist-hit-by-rubber-bullet-during-demonstration/
    They sue because there is no penalty for losing! I can just imagine the suits against law enforcement should this idea fly. NO ONE in their right mind would become a law enforcement officer.

  • Phill O

    Here is a link showing that the police will quit if not supported. I would also. Let the cities burn if the mayors do not support the cops. Why should I stick my neck out for those who would sue me?
    https://www.oann.com/57-officers-resign-from-buffalos-emergency-response-team-in-support-of-two-suspended-colleagues/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *