JPA Collapses, But Fight to End QI Continues

Efforts to pass the JPA (George Floyd Justice in Policing Act) have officially collapsed, The Washington Post reports. Bipartisan lawmakers failed to reach an agreement. Furthermore, they had already scrapped qualified immunity (QI) reform from the table. 

“At the end of the day, it was clear that we were not making the progress that we needed to make,” announced Senator Cory Booker. The New York Democrat was one of three  policymakers leading negotiations. The other two: Senator Karen Bass (D-CA) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).

As The Washington Post writes, the three negotiators “met for months this year and continued to express optimism for a deal.” However, the Post also indicates that there was a significant “lack of progress on key issues.”

The biggest issue being qualified immunity. 

QI reform was a major sticking point. As a result, talks stalled in the Senate. In particular, Republicans were against abolishing the doctrine. Because of Republican pushback, the JPA’s final draft “omitted any changes to…qualified immunity.” Meaning, even if the JPA passed, qualified immunity would remain intact. 

However, the fight to end QI is far from over. Indeed, although federal efforts to pass the JPA broke down, individual states continue to lead on meaningful change.

In 2020, Colorado became the first state to end qualified immunity. In 2021, New Mexico followed suit. Currently, California is thisclose to holding bad cops accountable, thanks to SB 2. The police reform bill awaits Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature. 

It’s also worth noting that Connecticut and New York City have taken measures to strengthen public safety by weakening qualified immunity.

Meanwhile, the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity expands its reach. Our campaign is working with various legislators, activists, and advocates in several states. These states have already introduced or plan to present measures aimed at eliminating QI. For example, New York State, Vermont, and Oregon.  

So, although the JPA collapsed, our work continues. After all, most Americans want QI out of the way. Truth is, we can still achieve real reform. In fact, it’s only a matter of time. 

Read the entire Washington Post article on the JPA here.