The Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Daily News wrote an op-ed on qualified immunity (QI). The op-ed supports Senate Bill 2. This act seeks to end QI for bad cops in the Golden State. SB 2 was introduced by State Senator Steven Bradford. Along with targeting QI, the bill wants to decertify bad cops. SB 2 is a response to the growing calls to eliminate QI, both in California and nationwide. These calls have increased since George Floyd’s death in May 2020.
Support and Opposition to SB 2
However, there are some roadblocks. As the op-ed notes, police unions aren’t pleased about SB 2. They oppose the bill.
“There’s a dirty secret in Sacramento,” the op-ed states. Despite California having the nation’s strictest occupational-licensing laws, these laws don’t apply to law enforcement. In fact, California is only one of four states that doesn’t have a decertification process for “misbehaving officers.”
The reason for that is the police unions. These unions, the Los Angeles Daily News says, “stifle accountability efforts and defend the current system that protects abusive cops.”
Police unions control the oversight boards. And, the op-ed explains, they fear potential lawsuits. In particular, lawsuits against officers accused of misconduct. Because qualified immunity shields bad actors from liability, the unions are determined to keep the doctrine intact. So, they close ranks.
Senator Steven Bradford expressed his frustration at these roadblocks to accountability. “Allowing the police to police themselves has proven to be dangerous and leads to added distrust between communities of color and law enforcement,” Sen. Bradford said.
In their op-ed, the Los Angeles Daily News’ Editorial Board backs Sen. Bradford. “He’s right,” they say. “It’s time to rectify that situation.”
The way to rectify that situation is by passing SB 2 and ending qualified immunity for bad cops. Establishing a police culture that values accountability is the only way to build trust between police and the public.
Read the entire op-ed here.