Ben and Jerry pen an op-ed for USA Today. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. In addition, they’re the co-chairs of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity (CTEQI). In their piece, the duo addresses our nation’s public safety crisis. Furthermore, they speak about how white people can tackle systemic racism in law enforcement.
“When police abuse Black people, it’s not a Black problem. It’s a white problem,” Ben and Jerry write. “While Black people bear the brunt of police brutality, it’s white people who allow this racism to continue.”
We live in a “majority white society,” Ben and Jerry explain. As a result, there’s a power imbalance. For example, police chiefs and officers are “overwhelmingly white.” Many of these officers serve with honor. They respect an individual’s civil rights. However, there are bad cops out there. These bad cops are “killing and brutalizing Black people before our very eyes.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to stopping police brutality, the federal government has refused to act. As Ben and Jerry indicate, “Congress failed to meet the moment with a national solution.” Meaning, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act stalled in the Senate. Among other critical provisions, this police reform package would’ve ended qualified immunity (QI).
Without effective police reform, “the [public safety] crisis has only gotten worse.” Bad cops continue to roam our streets. Shockingly, Ben and Jerry note that “More than 1,000 people have been killed by police since George Floyd was murdered.” Needless to say, most of these officers haven’t faced accountability.
However, there’s still hope.
In USA Today, Ben and Jerry also remark on how “some state leaders are proving that better policing is possible.” In particular, in Colorado, New Mexico, and California. Thanks to new laws, bad cops there “are longer immune to prosecution through…qualified immunity.” In response, policymakers in other states have introduced similar legislation. For instance, New York.
Leading the state-based effort to pass police reform: the CTEQI coalition. In their piece, Ben and Jerry detail how our campaign works to “mobilize people in every state to demand integrity, accountability and better public safety.”
In conclusion, despite recent setbacks and troubling statistics, the demand for police accountability grows. Ultimately, there’s real momentum behind the call to end qualified immunity.
Read Ben and Jerry’s USA Today op-ed here.