CTEQI Weekly Wrap-Up: 8/7–8/11

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, we highlight the story of Kenneth Chamberlain and how his family’s decade-long fight for justice underscores the necessity of ending qualified immunity.


News 12 Westchester: White Plains Officials Agree to $5 Million Settlement with Kenneth Chamberlain’s Family

In the early hours of November 19, 2011, 68-year-old White Plains, New York, resident Kenneth Chamberlain accidentally set off his medical alert necklace. When the police showed up, Chamberlain explained it was all a mistake; he didn’t need help. But the cops refused to budge. They broke down Chamberlain’s front door and stormed into his apartment, provoking a brutal confrontation: the officers tased Chamberlain, then fatally shot him.

Seeking accountability, Chamberlain’s family filed a federal suit. But their quest for justice hit a massive roadblock when the officers claimed—and received—-qualified immunity. 

Disappointed yet undeterred, the Chamberlains pressed forward. To honor his father, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. organized the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform and consulted on The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, an acclaimed 2019 film that dramatized the tragedy. 

The years of perseverance paid off on Monday when the city of White Plains announced it had settled with the Chamberlain family for $5 million. “My family hopes this settlement will inspire other victims of police violence to keep fighting for the truth,” said Chamberlain Jr., who plans to use the money to establish a foundation dedicated to police reform.

Monday’s decision is undoubtedly a victory. But it shouldn’t have taken Kenneth Chamberlain’s family over a decade to get the justice they deserved. Qualified immunity bogged down a process that, in an ideal world, would have resulted in swift action against the cops who took an innocent life. Countless families affected by police misconduct continue to feel helpless when faced with qualified immunity. They, too, deserve justice.

As we remember Kenneth Chamberlain and all victims of police violence, we reaffirm our vision of building a truly just system of accountability and continue to call on our elected officials, both state and federal, to end qualified immunity.  

Read more here. 

Find out where you can watch The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain here. 


Mississippi Today: Six Rankin Officers Plead Guilty to Torturing Two Black Men

TW: sexual assault

“Deputy Attorney General Mary Helen Wall of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office said these brutal attacks ‘caused more than harm to the victims—it severed the trust of the people.’ Six months after the raid, the Rankin County Sheriff’s department fired five deputies they said were involved.” 

Read more here.

Minnesota Reformer: Man Beaten by Minneapolis Police Launches ‘Good Apple’ Nonprofit 

“‘Good Apple is essentially my response to what we saw and I actually experienced during my time involved in the criminal justice system,’ [Jaleel Stallings] said in an interview from Houston Tuesday. ‘It’s focused towards bringing change to the nature of policing and bringing it to a point where it works for everybody by empowering the good officers or good apples in the system.’”

Read more here. 

Stateline: After George Floyd’s Murder, More States Require Release of Police Disciplinary Records

“Between May 2020 and April 2023, lawmakers in nearly every state and the District of Columbia introduced almost 500 bills addressing police investigations and discipline, including providing access to disciplinary records, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sixty-five of the bills have been enacted.”

Read more here.

The Washington Post: Cop-watchers Are Now YouTube Celebrities. They’ve Changed How Police Work.

“Cop-watchers and auditors say they’re waking up an over-policed nation to its plight. They’re forcing police and government agencies to train their workers to respect First Amendment rights and are willing to risk arrest in the process….And there’s no shortage of videos.”

Read more here.

Star Tribune: How Is the Duluth Police Department Doing? The Crime and Justice Institute Has 90 Pages of Notes.

“The Crime and Justice Institute’s much-anticipated 90-page racial bias audit, released online Wednesday, found that some residents feel officers lack empathy—that they are treated as though they are ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ Meanwhile, some officers surveyed said they were hesitant to engage with people of color because of the ‘perception of racial tension.’”

Read more here.

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