Charles Lorentz’s mother wants to end qualified immunity (QI). On March 21, 2020, a bad park ranger fatally shot Charles during a minor traffic stop. Charles was unarmed. In response, his mother, Kimberly Beck, sued. Yet, justice wasn’t served. On the contrary, Charles Lorentz’s loved ones were denied justice. Because of QI.
Kimberly Beck took action. She wrote an op-ed for USA Today. In her piece, Kimberly calls out the unethical doctrine. In honor of her son, Charles Lorentz, Kimberly wants to end qualified immunity. (As does USA Today. Recently, the paper’s Editorial Board officially came out against QI.)
In her op-ed, Beck criticizes the Department of Justice (DOJ). She quotes from the DOJ’s website. According to the DOJ, their mission is, among other things, “to ensure public safety,” to “seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior,” and “to ensure…justice for all Americans.”
However, Beck indicates, none of these things are possible. Not without accountability. And qualified immunity deters accountability. As long as QI exists, bad federal officials, like the park ranger who killed Charles Lorentz, can get away with muder.
“If our son’s killer were a civilian,” Kimberly Beck writes, “he would most certainly be criminally prosecuted. But because our son’s killer is a federal law enforcement officer…the district attorney declined to press criminal charges.”
In USA Today, Kimberly Beck urges Attorney General Merrick Garland and President Joe Biden to step up on police reform. As Beck notes, “Garland and Biden have the direct ability to…[end] qualified immunity for government actors like park rangers.”
“I cannot change what happened [to Charles],” Beck concludes. “But our country can, in his name, change the systems that led to his death.”
Read Charles Lorentz’s mother’s USA Today op-ed here.