CTEQI Weekly Wrap-Up: 4/25–4/29

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, police release the name of the rogue cop who killed Patrick Lyoya; advocates and lawmakers gather to end qualified immunity in New York; Maryland’s attorney general sues a local sheriff for blocking justice; and more! 


CNN: Grand Rapids Police Chief Names Officer Who Fatally Shot Patrick Lyoya

“Police Chief Eric Winstrom previously declined to release [Christopher] Schurr’s name, arguing the city had a long-standing policy not to release the names of employees under investigation even as the officer’s name was circulating publicly. Winstrom said he decided to identify Schurr ‘in the interest of transparency, to reduce ongoing speculation, and to avoid any further confusion.’”

Read more here.


Public safety advocates, lawmakers, and Brooklyn residents met outside Brooklyn Borough Hall on Friday, April 22, in support of S 1991, the bill to end qualified immunity in New York. “Without public trust, without public safety, we cannot move forward and mend the relationships between our community and law enforcement,” said Gahrey Ovalle, co-leader of End QI NY, one of the rally’s organizers.  

Read more here.

“The long line of governmental abuse of Black people in this country did not begin with qualified immunity. But this harmful doctrine, a relic of the Jim Crow era, certainly enables it. To create a more just future for all New Yorkers, we must end qualified immunity today.” Derek Perkinson, New York State field director for the leading civil rights organization National Action Network, relates the racist history of qualified immunity in a recent op-ed.

Read more here. 


Another watered-down police accountability bill faces an uphill battle in the Vermont legislature. S.250, sponsored by State Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, a prominent qualified immunity critic, “ran into some opposition in a hearing before a House panel on Thursday—mostly around the creation of a database of alleged police misconduct.”

Read more here. 


Brian Frosh, Maryland’s Attorney General, is suing Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler after his department refused to cooperate with an investigation into the death of a 53-year-old man under police custody. Stated Frosh: “This interference with an independent investigation is in violation of the law. The people of Maryland deserve better, and we will fight to see that they get it.”

Read more here. 


Reason: Cop Who Arrested High Schooler on ‘Terrorizing’ Charges for Class Joke Gets Qualified Immunity

“[Lennon Betancourt’s] arrest was based on an obviously satiric photo…[Billy] Matranga knew all that—and yet he arrested Lennon, clapped him in jail, and misled the district attorney….Qualified immunity does not protect the officer who orchestrated this outrageous clown show.”

Read more here.

The Guardian: US Police Have Killed Nearly 600 People in Traffic Stops Since 2017, Data Shows

“There has been renewed scrutiny of traffic stops since the 4 April killing of [Patrick] Lyoya, an unarmed 26-year-old in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was shot in the back of the head after a struggle with an officer who pulled him over for having a mismatched license plate. Lyoya’s death is the most recent that has captured headlines and calls for change.”

Read more here.

NBC News: Indianapolis Officers on Leave After Man Dies During Response to Mental Health Call

“The man, whom the Marion County Coroner’s Office identified as Herman Whitfield III, 39, died early Monday after police used a stun gun on him and had him handcuffed. A cause and the manner of death were not yet available, the coroner’s office said Tuesday.”

Read more here.

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