On June 15, Jerry Greenfield went on Cheddar News to discuss qualified immunity (QI). The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and co-chair of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity (CTEQI) spoke with host Baker Machado about police reform. Their conversation centered on CTEQI’s role in the fight for greater police accountability.
“The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity is aiming to put pressure on lawmakers in Congress,” Cheddar News’ Baker Machado remarks at the top of the segment. The campaign calls on elected officials to pass legislation that will hold bad cops accountable. On Cheddar News, Jerry Greenfield explains what qualified immunity is, how it works, and why it must go.
“Qualified immunity is essentially a get-out-of-jail-free card for bad cops,” Jerry says. Because of this court-created rule, bad cops who violate someone’s rights are rarely held accountable. This lack of accountability contributes to our crisis in policing. Jerry Greenfield explains to Cheddar News’ Baker Machado that this crisis inspired him and Ben Cohen to take action. “After the murder of George Floyd,” Jerry says, “we saw ending qualiifed immunity as a way to turn protest into policy.”
Jerry Talks About CTEQI
On Cheddar News, Baker Machado asks Jerry Greenfield to describe CTEQI. “Our campaign is a broad coalition that includes about 24 national advocacy groups,” Jerry indicates. He points out that these groups include “moderates, Libertarians, liberals, progressives [and] conservatives.” CTEQI’s coalition partners range from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to the Cato Institute. What unites these groups is the desire to eliminate QI.
Yet, as much as there’s wide-ranging support for police reform, there are also roadblocks to accountability. And one of the biggest roadblocks comes from police unions. Jerry says that “police unions…want to protect [bad cops] at all costs.” As Jerry tells Cheddar News’ Baker Machado, this has caused “a breakdown in trust” between the police and the communities they serve. Without trust, even the good cops can’t do their jobs properly. Ending qualified immunity will help good cops build the trust they need to keep their communities safe.
“The majority of Americans want to get rid of qualified immunity,” Jerry tells Baker Machado. “We need our representatives to listen to that.” And the best way to convey this is to “get on the phone…and tell Congress you want to end qualified immunity.”
Watch Jerry Greenfield discuss QI on Cheddar News here.