Al Sharpton wants to end qualified immunity (QI). The civil rights activist and host of MSNBC’s PoliticsNation recently called out the unjust doctrine. Specifically, while discussing the tragic death of 17-year-old Hunter Brittain. On June 23, a bad cop, who was white, fatally shot the unarmed teen, who was also white. Al Sharpton said: “It is long past time that we end qualified immunity.”
Hunter Brittain’s death shook his Arkansas community. As a result, the Brittain family reached out to Al Sharpton. The fact that Hunter Brittain was white “may surprise people familiar with the cases I have represented in the past,” Sharpton says on MSNBC. But the bottom line is, “We don’t just stand up for one race; we come for what is right, period.”
One of Hunter Brittain’s relatives is especially vocal in calling for accountability. That’s Hunter’s uncle Jesse. In fact, as Al Sharpton notes, when Jesse Brittain told mourners at his nephew’s memorial that we must end QI, “he received a standing ovation.”
On the subject of QI, Al Sharpton remarks how repealing the rule is “one of the components of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act [JPA].” As a matter of fact, it’s the most important component. However, the reform package, which passed the House of Representatives in March, “has since stalled in the Senate because of Republican objections.” And it’s stalled because of QI.
Sharpton, like other prominent civil rights activists, believes the JPA must pass. Not only that, but that it must pass with the provision to end QI. We need “national standards that protect all of us from bad officers,” Al Sharpton remarks.
Simply put, we need these standards because police violence is a huge problem. Al Sharpton offers this troubling statistic: “In the first half of 2021 alone, police have already killed 530 people.” This figure, Sharpton says, comes from Mapping Police Violence.
“The horrific death of young Hunter Brittain sadly shows us that no one is safe until there is true police reform and accountability,” Al Sharpton indicates. In honor of Hunter, Sharpton concludes, we will “stand together, march together and fight together for true justice for all.”
Read and watch Al Sharpton calling for an end to qualified immunity here.