Qualified Immunity Explained

In cases of police brutality, qualified immunity

is a legal doctrine based on two rulings by the Supreme Court. Qualified immunity requires lower court judges to ignore whether any laws were broken and dismiss the case, unless another police officer had been found guilty previously in a similar situation.

In fact, the situations need to be so similar that in one example, a judge threw out a case where police officers sicced an attack dog on a homeless man while he was surrendering by kneeling down with his arms above his head. The judge compared it to a case where police officers sicced an attack dog on a person while lying face down and concluded the two cases were not exact, therefore the police officers were not guilty.

MUST WATCH: Want to learn more about qualified immunity? Check out this video by The Washington Post.

Qualified Immunity is the Ultimate Catch 22

But the similarity issue is not the only problem. The other one is the catch 22. If there is no precedent of a police officer being found guilty of a particular offense, there’s no way that you can create a new precedent.


Letter: Business Leaders for Ending Qualified Immunity

We are more than 650 of current and former CEOs, founders, and leaders of businesses across the country. We are outraged… that is why we are joining millions of Americans who are demanding an end to qualified immunity.

Read the letter


Letter: From the Players for Ending Qualified Immunity Coalition

We are more than 1,400 current and former professional athletes and coaches from across the NFL, NBA, and MLB. We are tired of conversations around police accountability that go nowhere. There is a problem. Part of the solution is ending qualified immunity.

Read the letter


Letter: From Creative Artists for Ending Qualified Immunity Coalition

We are more than 450 artists, musicians, actors, and creative professionals across the country. The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time to end qualified immunity. Citizens must know that if those who promise to uphold the law and protect the community fail to do so, there are remedies available.