Ben and Jerry speak to CNN about ending qualified immunity (QI). As CNN anchor Victor Blackwell notes, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are “not new to social justice campaigns.” On the contrary, the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream are known for rallying behind critical causes. These days, the duo focus on the fight for meaningful police reform. Particularly, the fight to end qualified immunity.
The desire to tackle the lack of police accountability, especially after George Floyd’s murder, prompted the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to launch the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity (CTEQI).
“Right now cops have a get-out-of-jail-free card when they violate somebody’s…rights,” Ben tells CNN’s Victor Blackwell. “You’ve got to hold people accountable. That’s what ending qualified immunity is about.”
QI in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
Ben says ending QI is “the heart” of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (JPA). If legislators don’t address QI, the JPA loses its power, regardless of the bill’s other important provisions. “Without ending qualified immunity, it doesn’t matter what you put in the rest of the act, because you’re not holding [bad cops] accountable,” Ben explains.
The comprehensive police-reform package currently awaits a vote in the Senate. But negotiations have stalled. This is due to the debate over whether or not to keep the measure that strikes down QI.
CNN anchor Victor Blackwell asks Jerry to share his thoughts on this issue.
“There’s a crisis in policing,” the CTEQI co-chair tells Blackwell. “And there’s a breakdown of trust between police and the communities they serve. And it’s because there’s no accountability.” That’s why Congress must act now and end qualified immunity.
Jerry also addresses House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s concerns about abolishing the doctrine. Specifically, that police departments will be unable to recruit if we end QI. Jerry refutes McConnell’s claim. He offers Victor Blackwell this revealing fact: “Since qualified immunity has been ended in Colorado, the number of people leaving law enforcement has been fewer than it’s been in the two previous years.”
“Mitch McConnell ought to check his facts instead of just spouting off,” Jerry concludes.
Watch Ben and Jerry speak to CNN about ending QI here.