Progressive lawmakers refuse to compromise on qualified immunity (QI), CNN reports. Repealing the doctrine is a key provision in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Progressives are very much in favor of ending QI. However, this has been a sticking point for Republicans in the ongoing debate over police reform.
As CNN mentions, lawmakers on the right, such as U.S. Senator Tim Scott, are looking for alternatives. For example, Sen. Scott proposes shifting accountability away from individual police officers. Instead, he suggests placing it on entire police departments.
But progressives refuse to compromise in any way on QI.
“Individual police officers absolutely should be held accountable,” New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman said in response.
Others on the left echo Rep. Bowman. These include lawmakers such as St. Louis Rep. Cori Bush, NYC Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
In a recent interview with CNN’s Abby Phillip, Cori Bush said she’s unwilling to compromise on qualified immunity. “We compromise, we die,” Rep. Bush stated. “I didn’t come to Congress to compromise on what could keep us alive. … if you are just and fair in your work, then do you need the qualified immunity anyway?”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s response to compromise: “We shouldn’t water down legislation to avoid that kind of accountability.”
As for Rep. Omar, CNN says she’s reintroduced three policing bills. She hopes to incorporate them into the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. These bills aim to strengthen accountability in the face of police misconduct.
For example, one of Rep. Omar’s measures include establishing an independent federal agency to investigate deaths that happened under police custody. Because, as Rep. Omar told CNN, “History shows that the criminal justice system is not equipped to prosecute itself.”
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