The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity’s (CTEQI’s) year-end review looks back at the top 10 milestones in our fight to advance racial justice, strengthen public safety, and protect civil rights—proving why 2021, in the words of the Pew Center, was a “groundbreaking year for police accountability.”
Launch of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity
In coordination with the launch of the campaign, USA Today published an op-ed by CTEQI co-chair Ben Cohen on how ending qualified immunity (QI) would increase accountability and improve policing.
NYC Limits QI for Police Officers
The New York City Council voted on a large police reform package that ended qualified immunity as a defense for police officers in local civil lawsuits. The vote made New York City the largest jurisdiction to limit the ability of officers to invoke QI.
NM Eliminates QI for State Officials
In a key victory for public safety, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 4 into law on April 7. Known as the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, this legislation eliminates qualified immunity for state officials who violate someone’s rights.
Porsha Williams Breaks the Internet to End QI
Popular television personality Porsha Williams spoke with Ben and Jerry about the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity. The discussion, which took place on Instagram Live, highlighted Williams’ support for abolishing QI and garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from her 6.2 million followers.
Above the Law Gets Strong Buzz
Ben Cohen’s new book, Above the Law: How “Qualified immunity” Protects Violent Police, received praise from the likes of former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, who called it “a fantastic primer to a critical issue.” Cohen discussed the book in an in-depth interview with The Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Ben and Jerry Go to Washington
On May 19, CTEQI partners, headed by Ben and Jerry, held a press conference outside the Supreme Court, calling on Congress to end qualified immunity. Joining the CTEQI co-chairs were coalition partners from across the ideological spectrum, including the Libertarian Cato Institute and the progressive Our Revolution.
CTEQI Featured in The New York Times
The New York Times spoke with CTEQI director Edward Erikson about qualified immunity reform in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. In the article, Erikson dispelled a myth about the court-created rule. “When [police] say we can’t do our job without qualified immunity,” he told the Times, “they’re saying policing in America as it exists today is incompatible with civil rights.”
California Passes Police Reform
On September 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 2 (aka the Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021) and other important provisions into law—a major win for civil rights. “While Congress failed to pass police reform in face of a national crisis, California joined Colorado and New Mexico in proving better public safety is possible,” said CTEQI co-chair Jerry Greenfield.
Anquan Boldin Knows the Score
Retired NFL star, Players Coalition co-founder, and CTEQI partner Anquan Boldin called out QI in USA Today. The athlete and activist, who has experienced a devastating family loss brought on by police violence, didn’t mince words: “Our legal system affords officers privileges that make a mockery of equal justice under the law,” he wrote. Hence, Boldin believes it’s time to upgrade the system by striking down the qualified immunity defense for bad cops.
Vermont Introduces Legislation Aimed at Ending QI
Vermont policymakers are set to introduce legislation in early 2022 eliminating QI in the Green Mountain State. “Good law enforcement depends on community trust, and this reform is an important step towards building that trust in our communities,” said State Senator Richard Sears, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
What’s in store next year in the state-based fight to end qualified immunity? A lot! Stay atop all the QI updates in 2022 by signing up for our email list here.