Amid unrest over the egregious violations of civil rights by police – including the murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis May 25 – the Libertarian Party of Georgia shares the outrage of people who have lived too long under abusive and oppressive policing. We urge you, as a small but necessary step toward reforming our broken system, to ask your legislators to end the immunity of police officers.
TL;DR: Tell Congress to make police officers legally liable when they violate people’s rights. Scroll down for instructions and a call script.
Qualified immunity was created by the Supreme Court to protect corrupt, abusive cops from legal consequences. Even certain evidence of abuse or murder, police officers are largely immune from prosecution.
U.S. Representative Justin Amash, who recently changed his Congressional party affiliation to Libertarian, has introduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act to restore American’s rights to seek relief when their rights are violated by state actors. Legal scholars and criminal justice reformers across the political spectrum share this core libertarian goal: end qualified immunity.
“The brutal killing of George Floyd is merely the latest in a long line of incidents of egregious police misconduct,” Amash wrote to his Congressional colleagues. “This pattern continues because police are legally, politically and culturally insulated … That must change so that these incidents stop happening.”
Shane Hazel, a candidate for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat, put it more bluntly: “Decades and decades of systemic enabling. [We are] accomplices. This is why we find ourselves in a police state and we have no one to blame for it but ourselves. Now what are you going to do about it?”
The Supreme Court has indicated a willingness to reconsider qualified immunity for police officers, but so far has allowed 12 case petitions to pile up without acting. Law enforcement officers, confident they will face no legal consequences, are reckless and brazen in their violation of the civil rights of civilians.
Our nation’s core civil rights law, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, allows individuals to sue state and local officials if those officials violate constitutionally protected rights. The code contains no mention of immunity or exemptions for law enforcement officers, or for anyone else.
Police shouldn’t hide behind special protections. They should not be held to a lower standard. They should be accountable for their actions.
Please contact your House Representative and your Senators and encourage them to support Rep Justin Amash’s bill to end qualified immunity for law enforcement.
Sample comment script:
Hello. I’m a constituent from your district and I’m very concerned about the ongoing violence police officers are using against civilians. I ask you to please support and consider co-sponsoring Rep. Amash’s “Ending Qualified Immunity Act” to restore Americans’ rights to seek relief when their civil rights are violated. If the President won’t sign it, please make every attempt to override a veto. Americans will not tolerate special protections for abuses of power by corrupt or violent officers. I’ll be eagerly looking for your public announcement of support. And I’ll certainly be voting in November with this issue in mind. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Pro tip: Congressional email forms require you to select a “topic” from a dropdown menu. Please use topic “civil rights” for this message.