Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, president of Sojourners, one of the Campaign to End Qualified Immunity’s coalition partners, explains why we have a “moral duty” to end qualified immunity (QI) in a recent USA Today op-ed. “For our justice system to have any legitimacy,” he writes, “wrongdoers must be punished fairly and equally, whether they are holding a badge or not.”
Rev. Adam Russell Taylor is one of the latest faith leaders to speak out against QI. Last month, Jim Wallis, founding director of the Georgetown University Center on Faith and Justice, penned his own op-ed, examining the unjust rule through an ethical lens.
“The coercive force we let law enforcement use to maintain public order and manage public safety is one of the most important and sacred responsibilities we entrust to our government,” states Rev. Adam Russell Taylor in USA Today. However, qualified immunity “undermines the very integrity of our justice system.” The court-created rule serves as a “linchpin for why accountability for police misconduct and abuse remains so elusive.”
As long as QI exists, corrupt public officials will continue evading the consequences for their heinous acts. This, Rev. Adam Russell Taylor argues, makes qualified immunity “degrading.”
As the Reverend explains, QI is immoral because it “degrades the human personality of those who are victims of police abuse.” Furthermore, the doctrine “also degrades the human personality of the vast majority of police who are trying to do their job honorably and ethically.” QI, then, burdens good cops, “whose job is made more difficult and even more dangerous due to the lack of accountability for the minority of officers who abuse the power we entrusted to them.” Ending qualified immunity is the right thing to do because it will restore accountability to our broken justice system and heal the fractured relationship between law enforcement and communities.
“For the sake of the common good, the United States desperately needs to transform the relationship between police misconduct and accountability,” notes Rev. Adam Russell Taylor. Abolishing QI, he concludes, “is an important step on that journey.”
Read the entire Rev. Adam Russell Taylor op-ed here.