Ben Cohen on Above the Law

Ben Cohen is the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. He’s also the author of a new book, Above the Law. Ben is co-chair of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity (CTEQI). In The Santa Cruz Sentinel, Ben discusses his new book on qualified immunity (QI). Published by O/R Books, the book is called Above the Law: How “Qualified immunity” Protects Violent Police.

As the Sentinel notes, Above the Law is a CTEQI project. In the profile, Ben Cohen speaks on what inspired him to write Above the Law. “The continued murders of unarmed Black people by police, and the ability of police to get off scot-free, has been driving me crazy,” Ben says. 

In particular, Ben criticizes qualified immunity. He calls the legal doctrine a get-out-of-jail-free card for bad cops. Because of QI, police officers accused of misconduct are shielded from accountability. This lack of accountability has prevented victims from seeking justice. And, as Ben says, Black people are overwhelmingly bearing the brunt of this problem. Ending qualified immunity is a solution to this issue. 

In Above the Law, Ben outlines how qualified immunity denies justice. Per the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Ben’s new book explains how QI was established by the Supreme Court in the 1960s. Also, Ben summarizes one of the 17 stories featured in the book. 

As well as discussing his new book, Ben shares his thoughts on other similar topics. He weighs in on police unions, the militarization of police, and the need for overall police reform. 

Ultimately, ending qualified immunity is about holding those in power accountable for their actions. Particularly when said actors abuse their privileges. And especially when these abuses harm vulnerable lives. 

Law enforcement “is the only element of our society that we give the right to use lethal force in our name,” Ben concludes. “We hold them less accountable than any other member of our society. If we give you the privilege to use lethal force, you need to be held more accountable.”

Read the entire article about Ben Cohen’s new book on QI here.

Order a copy of Above the Law here.