The New York Times features the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity (CTEQI) in a recent article. Specifically, in an article that examines qualified immunity (QI) in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (JPA). The Times spoke with some prominent groups that back the efforts to repeal the court-created rule. One of these groups is CTEQI.
The New York Times interviewed CTEQI’s director, Edward Erikson. In the article, Erikson dispels a myth about QI. Defenders of the doctrine claim that repealing QI will make it harder for police to do their job. Erikson points otherwise. He believes this argument sends a different message. “When they say we can’t do our job without qualified immunity,” CTEQI’s director tells The New York Times, “they’re saying policing in America as it exists today is incompatible with civil rights.”
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (NAACP-LDF) also spoke with the Times. Puneet Cheema, a manager for the NAACP-LDF, calls ending QI “the heart” of the JPA. Cheema has worked with Democrats to shape the legislation.
Although Congress will miss President Biden’s deadline of May 25 to pass the JPA, there’s still hope for federal police reform. The New York Times reports how “advocates and lawmakers in both parties are optimistic about the possibility of reaching a compromise.” Particularly when it comes to qualified immunity.
QI, the Times remarks, “is one of the most conspicuous sticking points” in the JPA. The ambitious police-reform package aims to end QI for bad cops. The paper indicates that Republican legislators “will not support a bill that ends qualified immunity outright.” On the other hand, progressive lawmakers want to keep the JPA intact. They want to end qualified immunity. In fact, as The New York Times says, 10 progressive representatives, led by Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush, recently sent a letter to Senate leaders. In their letter, the progressives urged their colleagues to support abolishing QI.
Despite the controversy surrounding QI in the JPA, it’s clear where the public stands. The New York Times notes that “a wide majority of the country believes that officers who have committed misconduct should be held accountable in court.” Meaning, polls consistently show that Americans want to end QI. Thus, it’s time for the Senate to follow the will of the people and end the unjust rule.
Read the entire New York Times article featuring CTEQI here.