CTEQI Weekly Wrap-Up: 2/8–2/11

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, the Innocence Project discusses how they helped to eliminate qualified immunity in New Mexico; Ben and Jerry host a virtual event to support Vermont’s public safety bill; Chicago’s Office of Police Accountability investigates the humanitarian crisis in prisons; and more! 


USA Today: We Know Why Innocent People Are Wrongfully Convicted, So We Fight for Their Right to Sue Police 

Laurie Roberts of the Innocence Project: “Last year, we worked with dozens of organizations and grassroots activists from across the political spectrum to pass the New Mexico Civil Rights Act…which eliminates qualified immunity as a legal defense and allows New Mexicans whose constitutional rights have been violated to sue in state court.”

Read more here. 


On Thursday, February 10, Ben and Jerry hosted a virtual event, Justice for All, which brought together Vermonters in support of S.254, the key civil rights legislation to end qualified immunity in the Green Mountain State. “We all know police have a difficult job,” noted Jerry. “We need to love the good ones and we also need to hold the bad ones accountable because that benefits everyone—including the police.”

Watch the event here.

Concerned mother Cathy Austrian turned to Burlington police for help after her 14-year-old teen, who struggles with mental health issues, stole dozens of vapes. Instead of responding humanely, the rogue cops handled the crisis with excessive force. “It was just a nightmare…something that you never would expect to ever have happened,” said Austrian, horrified. 

Read more here.


In 2013, attorney Shira Scheindlin, then a U.S. district court judge in Manhattan, issued a ruling against the NYPD’s overuse of questionable stop-and-frisk tactics. Nearly a decade later, Scheindlin is “confounded that her reform order is still an ongoing affair, with…no end in sight to the rollout of reforms she’d hoped would be in place by now.”

Read more here.


Washington lawmakers are considering changes to new police accountability laws that public safety advocates such as Sonia Joseph, whose son Giovonn was a victim of police violence, say is “because officers want to use force at their discretion without being held accountable. . . . And we’re not standing for that.”

Read more here. 


Led by the ACLU of Maryland, a group of civil rights organizations have penned an open letter to Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, demanding transparency in the establishment of a local Police Accountability Board (PAB). “We urge the County Executive to…include the community in the planning process, and implement PAB recommendations from communities most impacted by over-policing in Baltimore County,” they wrote. 

Read more here.


Highlighting the humanitarian crisis in the prison system, Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the deaths of two women, London Marquez and Irene Chavez, who died under unclear circumstances while in custody. Marquez, noted her family, “was seven months pregnant with her first child at the time of her death.”

Read more here.


The Washington Post: Fatal Police Shootings in 2021 Set Record Since The Post Began Tracking, Despite Public Outcry

“Police shot and killed at least 1,055 people nationwide last year, the highest total since The Washington Post began tracking fatal shootings by officers in 2015—underscoring the difficulty of reducing such incidents despite sustained public attention to the issue.”

Read more here.

USA Today: To Reform Policing Accountability, States Need Not Wait on Supreme Court and Congress

“Because qualified immunity is a creature of the Supreme Court’s flawed interpretation of a federal civil rights statute, nothing stops state lawmakers from doing away with the defense as it applies to a legal claim based on state law.”

Read more here. 

NAACP Legal Defense Fund: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Rules in Favor of LDF Client in Qualified Immunity Case

“‘This ruling sends a clear message to school officials who would abuse their power by strip-searching students without adequate suspicion…and we commend the court for appreciating the true seriousness of what Lamar County school officials did to our client and how their behavior should not be protected by qualified immunity.”

Read more here. 

Philadelphia Inquirer: Police Killing of Amir Locke Leaves Blood on the Hands of a Do-nothing Congress 

“We were promised that the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor would not be in vain, but time for that is fast running out. For Amir Locke and his dreams of a full life, and for his grieving family, it’s already too late.”

Read more here.

Spread the word for accountability—submit a letter to the editor to your local newspaper. 
Stay atop of new state QI updates by signing up for our email list here.