Ayanna Pressley fights qualified immunity (QI) On June 27, the Massachusetts congresswoman spoke with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi. On the program, Rep. Pressley and Velshi discussed a number of issues. One of the topics was qualified immunity. Specifically, the need to keep the provision to end QI in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (JPA)
The sweeping police-reform package passed the US House in March. However, it has stalled in the Senate. The reason being qualified immunity. Republicans want to keep the court-created rule. Democrats want to abolish the doctrine. And there’s no word yet on a compromise.
Ali Velshi asks Ayanna Pressley where she stands on the issue. Her response: “There must be accountability.”
The Massachusetts lawmaker continues: “Law enforcement have been able to operate with callous standards for Black and brown bodies disproportionately, to operate with reckless impunity without any consequences…and that is why we got to end qualified immunity.”
Ayanna Pressley is a prominent critic of the doctrine. For example, on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, she spoke with another MSNBC anchor, Craig Melvin, about ending the rule. Also, she was one of the 10 progressives in the House of Representatives who penned a letter supporting QI reform. Lastly, Ayanna Pressley co-sponsored the Ending Qualified Immunity Act (EQIA). Like the JPA, this bill targets QI. Unlike the JPA, the EQIA aims to end QI for all government actors, not just bad cops.
As the Massachusetts congresswoman previously noted, ending the doctrine will “usher in transformative, bold change” and give the families of victims of police misconduct “the accountability and the healing they deserve.” That’s why Ayanna Pressley fights QI.