Diane Goldstein debunks 8 myths about qualified immunity (QI). Retired Lt. Diane Goldstein is a good cop. She’s the executive director of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). Goldstein and LEAP are coalition partners of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity. On September 16, Goldstein published an op-ed in USA Today. In her piece, she calls out QI. Specifically, she debunks 8 myths about the unjust doctrine.
“All of us, law enforcement included, must realize that communities distrust or outright fear police because we are rarely held accountable,” Diane Goldstein writes in USA Today. “If we are to have worthwhile police reform in this country, we must end qualified immunity.”
As a longtime officer of the law, Diane Goldstein cares about her profession. That’s why QI concerns her. Qualified immunity shields bad cops when they violate someone’s rights. As a result, the lack of accountability creates a barrier. Specifically, a barrier between police and the communities they serve. Thus, QI “contributes to the erosion of public confidence in policing and makes us all less safe.”
However, Diane Goldstein also notes that there’s some “good news” for her law enforcement colleagues. Particularly, that QI “is not necessary to protect police or to keep the public safe.” To prove her point, Goldstein offers 8 common myths about QI. Furthermore, she dispells them with facts.
Here are a few of the QI myths Diane Goldstein debunks in USA Today:
Without qualified immunity, police departments won’t be able to recruit and retain personnel. (“Data from Colorado, one state that recently passed qualified immunity reform, indicates that it did not experience a mass exodus of police officers in the wake of the new law.”)
Frivolous lawsuits can ruin the lives of cops. (“Recent laws to abolish qualified immunity have carefully considered the importance of not harming the financial security of current or former law enforcement officers.”)
Ending qualified immunity makes it possible for police officers to be labeled as criminals for doing their job. (“By holding individuals accountable…fewer people are likely to characterize law enforcement officers as criminals for doing their job because they’ll witness equal application of the law, dispelling the myth that all cops are bad.”)
Read the Diane Goldstein op-ed debunking 8 QI myths here.