A group of 10 progressives in the House of Representatives penned a letter to Congress. In this letter, they urge the body to keep qualified immunity (QI) reform in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (JPA). As Politico reports, the letter addresses Congressional leaders and advocates for ending qualified immunity (QI). The progressive lawmakers say ending QI is a “must-have in police reform,” Politico states.
The letter was signed by all six members of the Squad: Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Jamaal Bowman. The other progressives listed are Pramila Jayapal, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mondaire Jones, and Jan Schakowsky.
“As negotiations continue, we know this,” the progressives write. “There can be no true justice in America if we cannot save lives, just like there can be no true accountability in America if we do not eliminate qualified immunity.”
It’s still unclear whether QI reform will remain in the JPA. Right now, negotiations are at a standstill. Democrats want to keep the provision that ends QI for bad cops. Republicans do not. That’s why these progressive lawmakers wrote the letter. For them, ending qualified immunity is urgent. They feel there can be no real police reform until bad cops face accountability for their misconduct.
Progressives Speak Out to Congress and Beyond
A number of these progressive lawmakers have previously spoken against eliminating QI from the JPA. For example, Cori Bush recently told CNN that she’s unwilling to compromise. So have the other members of the Squad. They, too, hold strong thoughts on the troubled doctrine.
Meanwhile, Ayanna Pressley not only supports ending QI for bad cops, she also wants to hold all public officials accountable. As the letter to Congressional leaders notes, in January 2021, Rep. Pressley reintroduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act. Her bill aims to end QI across the board. Progressives endorse this measure as well. “Consistent with the proposal outlined in Rep Pressley’s bill, we believe that any legislation negotiated on policing reform should eliminate qualified immunity in its totality,” they write.
“Our duty as lawmakers is to protect our communities, eliminating qualified immunity once and for all is one step toward making that possible,” the letter concludes. “As such, we strongly urge the Senate to maintain and strengthen this provision as negotiations continue on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”