CTEQI Weekly Wrap-Up: 2/20–2/24

Welcome to the weekly update from the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity! Here, we give you a wrap-up of the latest developments and notable news as we continue our state-focused fight to abolish the unjust rule. 

This week, legal scholar Joanna Schwartz discredits qualified immunity; state legislators nationwide champion police reform; the Memphis cops charged in Tyre Nichols’ death deny accountability; and more! 


Politico: Qualified Immunity Is Burning a Hole in the Constitution

“I have spent much of my academic career empirically examining [the] justifications for qualified immunity doctrine and have found each to be overblown and, sometimes, just plain false. It’s past time to get the facts straight about what qualified immunity is, what it does and what would happen if it were eliminated.”

Read more here. 


The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability is defending current police reforms such as restrictions on how cops handle minor traffic offenses, arguing that police chases are “an inherently dangerous tactic” that threaten public safety. 

Read more here. 


Speaking up for police transparency, the ACLU of New York is voicing its support for the How Many Stops Act, a package of two bills that “will better equip us to understand and push back on the scope of abusive and discriminatory police practices in New York City.”

Read more here. 


A new bill to end qualified immunity in Maryland has ignited a fierce debate among civil rights advocates and police union representatives. Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, the bill’s chief sponsor, sets the record straight: “We must reject the idea that accountability for police officers is anti-police or harmful to public safety. Police accountability is public safety.”

Read more here. 


Fox 5 Atlanta: Georgia State Lawmakers Propose Police Accountability Reforms After Tyre Nichols’ Death

“‘We will no longer allow the lack of oversight, accountability, and transparency to be the norm in law enforcement. No one gets a pass when lives continue to be intentionally taken. Georgians deserve better,’ Rep. [Kim] Schofield said in a statement.”

Read more here. 

Tenth Amendment Center: Rhode Island Bill Would Establish State Process to End Qualified Immunity

“Rep. Jose Batista (D) and 4 fellow Democrats introduced House Bill 5568 (H5568) on Feb. 15. The legislation would create a cause of action in state courts to sue a police officer who ‘subjects or causes to be subjected…any other person to the deprivation of any individual rights that create binding obligations on government actors secured by the United States Constitution, or by the state constitution.’”

Read more here. 

CNN: 5 Former Memphis Police Officers Charged in Tyre Nichols’ Death Plead Not Guilty

“RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, said she feels ‘numb’ and vowed to attend every proceeding involving the officers ‘until we get justice for my son.’ She said the five officers…‘didn’t even have the courage to look at me in my face.’”

Read more here. 

The Washington Post: From Freddie Gray to Tyre Nichols, Early Police Claims Often Misleading

“A Washington Post analysis of seven high-profile cases in which people died after use of force by police officers…found a familiar pattern: The initial police version of events was misleading, incomplete or wrong, with the first accounts consistently in conflict with the full set of facts once they finally emerged.”

Read more here. 

The Hill: Police Reforms Can Save Lives, Save Money, and Strengthen Law Enforcement

“Negotiations in the Senate in 2021 broke down over differences between Republicans and Democrats over the importance of protecting officers from liability in litigation brought against them. Politicians on both sides of the aisle should return to negotiations on a substantive reform package.”

Read more here. 

NBC News: Supreme Court Rejects Ohio Man’s Bid to Sue Police Over Arrest for Facebook Parody

The justices’ rejection of Anthony Novak’s appeal means his civil rights lawsuit against the Parma Police Department cannot move forward. With its decision, the court again declined to consider revisiting ‘qualified immunity’…”

Read more here. 

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