The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCAA) is a police organization representing large cities in the United States and Canada. On May 9, the MCCA released a statement that supports qualified immunity (QI) reform.
In his article, Schweikert notes that the MCAA isn’t calling for an outright repeal of QI. Instead, the police organization recommends “major alterations” to the doctrine. In their statement, the MCCA says it supports reforming QI “to better promote transparency and accountability.”
As Schweikert explains, this is a change of tune for the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Last year, the MCAA put out a different statement. One that stood behind QI. The organization’s previous statement claimed they oppose “repealing or amending” the doctrine.
The new statement is a step in the right direction. However, Jay Schweikert believes it’s “misleading in one crucial respect.” As it stands, the MCAA’s new statement suggests QI “protects police officers who are reasonably acting in good faith.”
Schweikert argues: “Whether or not defendants receive qualified immunity has nothing to do with whether they were actually acting in good faith . . . all that matters is whether the defendant violated ‘clearly established law’…” Schweikert elaborates on this. He discusses QI cases Cato were involved with. These include Alexander Baxter’s case.
The MCAA’s statement is the latest from a major police organization in support of QI reform. In April, the Police Benevolent Association admitted to its members that limiting qualified immunity in New York City was the right thing to do. The PBA serves New York City and is the world’s largest municipal police union.
These admissions from the MCCA and the PBA indicate advances made in response to public demand for greater police accountability.
Read Jay Schweikert’s blog post on the Cato Institute website here.
Read the entire Major Cities Chiefs Association statement supporting QI reform here.