Leonard Lopate on Above the Law

Ben Cohen went on WBAI Radio’s Leonard Lopate at Large to promote Above the Law, his book on qualified immunity. The full book title is Above the Law: How “Qualified Immunity” Protects Violent Police. With his new book on qualified immunity, Ben wants to set the record straight on the crooked rule.

As host Leonard Lopate says, qualified immunity (QI) was originally established to defend  police officers from “frivolous lawsuits.” However, over the years “courts have interpreted [QI] so broadly that police officers have been shielded from accountability in all but the rarest of circumstances.” 

This lack of accountability has allowed bad cops to get away with murder. Ben Cohen says this is “outrageous.” The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and co-chair of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity wants to hold all bad cops accountable. To address this injustice, Ben wrote Above the Law. 

Published by O/R Books, Above the Law highlights 12 cases of everyday Americans impacted by police violence. Ben Cohen’s new book looks at how justice was denied these victims because of QI. As O/R’s website notes, Above the Law offers a “compelling indictment of an outrageously unjust legal principle.” The book also features a foreword by activist and rapper Killer Mike. 

Stories from Above the Law

On WBAI’s Leonard Lopate at Large, Ben Cohen shares some of the stories in Above the Law. 

One of these is the case of David Collie. As Ben tells Leonard Lopate, officers in Texas shot David in the spine. As a result, David Collie became permanently paralyzed. And thanks to qualified immunity, the bad cops who did this to David weren’t held accountable. 

Another story featured in Ben Cohen’s Above the Law is that of Khari Illidge. Bad cops in Alabama killed Khari while he was experiencing a mental-health crisis. They, too, weren’t held accountable for their actions. (A recent episode of our new podcast, UNACCOUNTABLE, is about Khari Illidge.)

Honoring victims like David Collie, Khari Illedge, and others compelled Ben Cohen to write his new book on qualified immunity. Above all, Above the Law is a call for justice for all those affected by police brutality. 

Listen to Ben Cohen discuss Above the Law with Leonard Lopate here.

Order a copy of Above the Law here.
Listen to the UNACCOUNTABLE podcast here.