Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are fighting qualified immunity (QI) in New Hampshire (NH). The duo are also advocates for police accountability nationwide. Recently, they’ve set their sights on the Granite State. As co-chairs of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity, Ben and Jerry express their views on various platforms. They’ve written op-eds. They’ve appeared on television. And they’ve spoken at legislative hearings.
On Monday, May 10, Ben and Jerry stopped by the New Hampshire State House. The duo came to Concord, NH, to support Senate Bill 96. In particular, an amendment to the bill that would end QI.
The In Depth NH Piece
As In Depth New Hampshire reports, Rep. Paul Berch introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 96. The amendment reintroduces legislation to end QI in NH. The lawmaker unveiled the amendment at Monday’s news conference. Ben and Jerry back the amendment. That’s why they came to New Hampshire to speak at the news conference.
Ben told In Depth New Hampshire why he and Jerry support ending QI. He used a specific analogy to describe how the problematic doctrine works.
“If a cop hauls off and punches you in the face, your case will be thrown out of court on the basis of qualified immunity which essentially says cops cannot be held accountable,” Ben said.
Senate Bill 96
This is Rep. Paul Berch’s second attempt at ending qualified immunity. The first attempt was through House Bill 111. But that bill was benched. So, he’s trying again with Senate Bill 96.
In fact, Rep. Berch’s new proposal is even more ambitious than his first. As Rep. Berch states, his amendment would “repeal qualified immunity for all bad acting government actors. It’s broader than just law enforcement.”
It’s worth noting that Rep. Berch’s efforts fighting to end QI for all government actors in NH mirror a current federal bill that attempts to do the same nationwide: The Ending Qualified Immunity Act. This bill, originally introduced by Justin Amash and Ayanna Pressley, looks to abolish QI for all public officials. (The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the U.S. House on March 3, targets QI only for law enforcement.)
Senate Bill 96 will be heard on Tuesday, May 11, at the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee.
Read the entire article on Senate Bill 2 and ending QI in NH here.
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