Qualified immunity has got to go!
With the protests over the unjust death of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police department, discussions of the actions needed for real, concrete criminal justice reform have finally become part of the national conversation.
Representative Justin Amash (L-MI) is introducing legislation to end qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shelters government employees from the consequence of certain actions that turn out to be illegal. In recent years, this doctrine has been expanded to encompass more and more cases of police officers using disproportionate force and killing people they interact with.
This is also supported by a Resolution adopted by the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts in response the the murder of George Floyd, that calls for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to lead the necessary change by abandoning the war against drugs, to end police militarization, to take concrete steps towards re-establishing law-enforcement accountability, specifically by abolishing the concept of qualified immunity, and to remove the pretext for so much of the police violence by revoking laws that fabricate ‘victimless crimes’ - illegal acts that directly involve only the perpetrator or occur between consenting adults.
For more information on qualified immunity and the fight against it, please see: https://www.unlawfulshield.com/
We, as Libertarians, have always opposed the expansion of unjust police power, and condemn the political processes that use it. It is time to make our voices heard and work with all our hearts to ensure that we see comprehensive criminal reform enacted during our lifetimes. Representative Amash's bill is the first step (of many to come) in that direction.
Libertarian Representative Amash’s Bill to End Qualified Immunity already has the support of Massachusetts Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Jim McGovern, Joseph P. Kennedy III, and Lori Trahan. Let's make sure that the other 6 Massachusetts Reps join them.
How to help
The most important thing you can do is to contact your congressional Representative and urge them to support Representative Amash's Ending Qualified Immunity Act.
To find your Representative's contact information:
- Go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/MA#representatives
- Enter your zip code to find your Representative, if you don't know your congressional district
- To the the right of their picture will be a collection of links that will lead you to place where you can contact them
If you have Twitter, please tweet at your rep at the Twitter handle provided on in the Links section to the right.
If you are calling your Representative, always be sure to be courteous and professional. Be prepared to give this message either to a person, or (more likely) as a voicemail message.
Here is a sample message:
Hello, my name is <your name>. I am a resident of <town> in Representative <representative's name> district. I am calling today to request that Representative <representative's last name> support Representative Justin Amash's Ending Qualified Immunity Act.
Qualified Immunity is a legal tool that has been used by corrupt police officers to escape the consequences of their actions during times when they have clearly acted in an abusive or unjust manner.
In the wake of the protests in response to the death of George Floyd, the responsible and moral thing to do is to end qualified immunity as the first real step towards real, comprehensive criminal justice reform. Thank you.
If you are emailing, here is a template. Be sure to replace ALL of the things in < > with the correct person's name.
Subject: Please support the Ending Qualified Immunity Act
As I'm sure Representative <representative’s name> is abundantly aware, unrest and anger has spread across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Congressman Justin Amash (L-MI), has introduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act to Congress, which would end the Supreme Court's controversial decision to extend "qualified immunity" to police, protecting them from being sued or held liable for their actions in cases where they have violated a civilian's civil rights. I strongly encourage Representative <representative’s last name> to back the Ending Qualified Immunity Act and remove this gaping hole in police accountability, which will not only protect American citizens from explicit abuse by unjust police officers, but also help begin rebuilding confidence in America's law enforcement, here and abroad.