Ayanna Pressley speaks about ending qualified immunity on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is a leader in the national efforts to end qualified immunity (QI). On May 25, the the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, Rep. Pressley went on MSNBC. She stopped by the news network to discuss racial justice, police accountability, and ending qualified immunity.
Rep. Pressley tells MSNBC’s Craig Melvin she wants to pass laws that will “keep Black Americans alive.” Police violence, the congresswoman explains, disproportionately affects Black and Brown Americans. Without qualified immunity, bad cops who harm, maim, and even kill won’t “walk away” with impunity any longer. These bad apples will face accountability. That’s why it’s urgent to end qualified immunity.
“There must be accountability, and we have to legislate that,” Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley says. She supports maintaining the measure to end QI in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (JPA). The provision to repeal the doctrine is “one of the strongest and most important provisions” in the JPA, Rep. Pressley tells MSNBC’s Craig Melvin. Without it, the most ambitious police-reform package in recent history is “watered down” and ineffective. Without accountability, there’s no real reform.
Recently, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and nine other progressives in the House of Representatives wrote a letter to Congress urging the body to keep QI reform in the JPA. And back in March, the Massachusetts lawmaker reintroduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act (EQIA). The EQIA is a partner to the JPA. This bill seeks to completely eliminate QI. It wants to revoke the doctrine for all public officials who violate someone’s rights, not just bad cops.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is determined to “usher in transformative, bold change” that stops police violence and upholds the decency and humanity of Black Americans and other marginalized communities. As she tells Craig Melvin, ending qualified immunity will give the families of victims of police misconduct “the accountability and the healing they deserve.”
Watch Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley discuss George Floyd on the anniversary of his death and ending QI here.