Ben & Jerry support Maine’s LD 214, a bill that would end qualified immunity (QI). The duo appeared at the hearing to endorse the bill.
Qualified immunity is in the hot seat in Maine. This week, the Maine Legislature held a public hearing on a bill that would abolish the court-created loophole. The bill is called LD 214. It’s also known as An Act to Eliminate Qualified Immunity for Police Officers.
With their support of Maine’s act, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream continue their national advocacy for ending QI. As WGME 13 reports, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield testified at a public hearing on April 29 on behalf of LD 214. Ben and Jerry, the piece notes, are “leading the national campaign to end qualified immunity.”
According to the article, LD 214 is one of the “most talked about” proposals in the Maine’s legislative session. The bill is sponsored by State Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos. He was also at the hearing.
Michael Kebede of the ACLU is another accountability advocate who testified. He countered arguments that getting rid of the doctrine would “hurt everybody in law enforcement.” On the contrary, Kebede believes that ending QI in Maine “would restore faith in law enforcement.” Per Kebede, LD 214 would restore that faith by reaffirming that no one, not even the police, is above the law.
The goal of LD 214 is to hold bad cops in Maine accountable by repealing the qualified immunity defense. Because of this defense, officers who break the law are often not held accountable for their misconduct. This lack of accountability is not just a problem in Maine, but also nationwide. That’s why lawmakers around the country, like Rep. Evangelos, work hard to repeal the doctrine.
LD 214 is modeled after a similar bill that ended QI in Colorado nearly a year ago. As WGME says, other states and jurisdictions have also taken steps to end or limit QI. These include New Mexico, Connecticut, and New York City.
Read the entire article about support for LD 214 here.