CTEQI Weekly Wrap-Up: 7/31–8/4

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 DOJ launches its probe of the Memphis Police Department; Colorado upholds police accountability; a federal court protects the First Amendment rights of Cop City opponents; and more! 


USA Today: Who Polices the Police? Federal Probe in Memphis Marks Latest Effort to Reform Law Enforcement

“The Department of Justice announced Thursday a civil rights investigation into the city [of Memphis] and its police force over alleged systemic use of excessive force and discrimination….Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and former federal prosecutor, said an outside investigation and subsequent consent decree are critical for auditing police departments and enforcing change. ‘The police cannot police themselves,’ Levenson said.” 

Read more here. 


Robert Gangi, director of the Police Reform Organizing Project, examines the troubled history of the New York Police Department, stretching back to 1894. His takeaway: “the NYPD engages in the deeply embedded institutional culture practice of targeting poor New Yorkers of color.”

Read more here. 

Local Law J, an Albany public safety initiative that passed with 70 percent of voters, was established to bolster the city’s community-led police oversight board. Instead of complying, the Albany Police Department has done everything in its power to stifle oversight. “It’s just blatant disrespect at this point,” said the board’s chair. 

Read more here. 


Maryland’s Attorney General has opened an investigation into a police-involved fatality after an unnamed man, who was in the midst of a mental health crisis, died in custody on Tuesday. 

Read more here. 


Colorado Politics: Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Pueblo Deputy Who Killed Man at Middle School

“[Kristy] Ward Stamp claimed McWhorter and Gonzales used excessive force against her son in violation of the Fourth Amendment. She also invoked a 2020 police accountability law [that ended qualified immunity] Colorado’s legislature enacted in the wake of nationwide protests over the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of officers. Ward Stamp added that Pueblo County failed to properly train its deputies.”

Read more here. 

AP News: Colorado Officer Who Put Suspect in Car Hit by Train Found Guilty of Reckless Endangerment

“Jordan Steinke was the first of two officers to go to trial over the Sept. 16, 2022, crash that left Yareni Rios-Gonzalez seriously injured. ‘There’s no reasonable doubt that placing a handcuffed person in the back of a patrol car, parked on railroad tracks, creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm by the train,said Judge Timothy Kerns.”

Read more here. 

Atlanta Black Star: ‘I Felt a Pulse’: Court Rules Estate of Disabled Woman Put In Body Bag Despite Still Being Alive Can’t Sue First Responders Who Declared Her Dead Because of Qualified Immunity

“According to the Detroit Free Press, the four EMTs were placed on leave, and the family [of Timesha Beauchamp] filed a lawsuit against the four EMTs and the City of Southfield claiming they violated the 20-year-old’s civil rights by being ‘deliberately indifferent to her serious medical need’ and treatment that resulted in a ‘private act of violence.’ A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that first responders were immune from the $50 million civil lawsuit.”

Read more here. 

11 Alive: Court Rules Atlanta Code Barring Outside Residents from Collecting Petition Signatures Violates First Amendment

“A federal court has sided with DeKalb County residents who sought to collect signatures for the referendum petition aiming to stop the construction of…’Cop City’ by opponents. A standing Atlanta ordinance had barred outside residents from collecting signatures for petitions within the city. A judge in the Atlanta federal district court ruled the ordinance violated 1st Amendment political speech rights.”

Read more here. 

The Chronicle: Sexual Harassment, Lies, Botched Investigation: Documents Detail Claims Against Roger Morningstar, Former Morton Police Chief 

“The Criminal Justice Training Commission’s investigation into former Morton Police Chief Roger Morningstar has turned up evidence Morningstar sexually harassed fellow employees and citizens at both the Morton Police Department and his previous police jobs, lied on his application to the Morton Police Department, misused public funds and mishandled an investigation into an attempted burglary by a registered sex offender.”

Read more here. 

Los Angeles Times: Measure J, L.A. County’s 2020 Criminal Justice Reform Measure, Is Constitutional, Appellate Court Finds

“‘This is a win that a lot of us have been waiting for, and it’s so powerful because it reaffirms this vision,’ [L.A. City Councilmember Eunisses] Hernandez said. ‘Communities want … our dollars to go to care, and I think when we talk about public safety, Measure J was our response to what we think public safety is and what it should look like.’”

Read more here.

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