ELIMINATE QUALIFIED IMMUNITY IN NC NOW
ELIMINATE QUALIFIED IMMUNITY IN NC NOW
Dear Attorney General and Elected Officials
As the country reels from the police killings of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, Rashard Brooks. We are once again back to the same police, policing themselves. When does this stop? When do the families have healing? When do police officers lose their Law Enforcement Certifications?
Elected Officials have failed the people in NC. Their has been shootings from the police resulting in death of citizens since Governor Cooper Taskforce has been initiated. Although their has been recommendations for the police and policies needed, we are still awaiting on those to be implemented.
We are requesting an outline of the steps North Carolina will take to end qualified immunity. Governor Cooper, you have the power to end qualified immunity in North Carolina. This petition serves as a call to action from organizations and community activists all demanding, you to take action meaningful police accountability reforms based on the following:
1) It violates Due Process
2) It violates Equal Protection under the law and grants officers unchecked power
3) It perpetuates the biases your office seeks to eliminate
4) A plea bargain is not an admission of guilt. It could also mean that they are not privy to the resources needed to prove innocence.
5) Citizens should never wave their rights to justice.
6) It enacts cruel and unusual punishment.
7) Granting qualified immunity means guaranteed injustice to opposing citizens.
8) Qualified immunity grants unfettered authority to law enforcement.
9) Qualified immunity increases police misconduct due to unchecked authority.
10) There are not enough checks and balances in place to affirm the need for qualified immunity.
11) Qualified Immunity cost the taxpayers of North Carolina $112 billion of dollars that could be spent on improving quality of life.
Ronnie Long was sentenced to 80 years in prison in 1976 after an all-white jury wrongfully convicted him of raping a 54-year-old white woman. Ronnie Long maintained his innocence throughout the following decades and relentlessly tried to have his conviction overturned. 44 years later Ronnie Long still awaits for justice from those who prosecuted him for a crime he didn't commit and the Judge who didn't allow the biological evidence to be reviewed in 1976 trial. The 65-year-old Black man received $750,000 in restitution—the maximum amount North Carolina pays to victims of wrongful incarceration.
Marcus Smith was killed on September 8, 2018, the GPD issued a press release approved by Chief Wayne Scott, that began what would develop into a full-blown official cover-up that continues to this day. The release, which was deceptively titled, “Man who collapsed in police custody dies,” also falsely claimed that Smith was “suicidal” and “combative,” and made no mention of the hogtying. The mayor seized on the filing as a pretext to call off the vote on the independent investigation, and hired Mullins Duncan Harrell & Russell PLLC, a high-priced private law firm, to fight the case. In June, the City refused to produce information about the GPD’s purchase of the RIPP Hobble in response to a public information request, and all the defendants in the civil rights suit moved to dismiss the case, hiding behind the badly misapplied doctrine of qualified immunity and refusing to even acknowledge that what in fact the officers did to Smith.
Gerard Atkinson filed a lawsuit against City of Fayetteville July 18, 2020 for wrongful imprisonment at the Cumberland County Detention Center for 1,065 days after calling the suicide hotline for assistance. Mr. Atkinson lost his family, job, and house because he believe in the system that failed him. Currently the City of Fayetteville dismissed his case for the lawsuit against the Chief of Police, Police Officers and the lack of legal counsel for due process. The dismissal was based on Qualified Immunity against the police officers and the City of Fayetteville. He filed a federal lawsuit for $7.3 million dollars.
Nearly every year for the last decade, the Supreme Court has taken up at least one case involving qualified immunity for police and nearly always rules in favor of police. Though on opposing ends of the political spectrum, both Justices Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor have each written about the dangers of qualified immunity stating “[qualified immunity is] shoot first and think later, and it tells the public that palpably unreasonable conduct will go unpunished.”
As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Congress gave United States citizens the right to sue public officials who violate their rights and seek justice. Qualified immunity backtracks this promise leads to the government officials and police to have free reign without consequence.
Because of qualified immunity, police officers are the only people in America who can commit murder with impunity. It is our duty to demand this unjust and vicious practice is thrown out, and those who hide behind this are held accountable for the destruction and violence they cause. While the constitution state that all people have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Black people are still fighting for the right to live.
<a href="https://www.cbs17.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/07/Atkinson-DE-29-Motion-to-Dismiss.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2JbXbk-_rOx6y1q7Sv8defJ-VD58Ts1deKNRIu25pTDHVV-TPhquNxUtw" rel="nofollow">https://www.cbs17.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/07/Atkinson-DE-29-Motion-to-Dismiss.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2JbXbk-_rOx6y1q7Sv8defJ-VD58Ts1deKNRIu25pTDHVV-TPhquNxUtw</a>
<a href="https://truthout.org/articles/marcus-deon-smith-was-killed-1-year-ago-by-police-his-life-still-matters/" rel="nofollow">https://truthout.org/articles/marcus-deon-smith-was-killed-1-year-ago-by-police-his-life-still-matters/</a>
Examples of Qualified Immunity Cases:
Because qualified immunity cases are intensely fact-specific, there's no bright line to determine if immunity applies or not. Here are some examples of excessive force cases. Where do you think they land on the question of qualified immunity?
Brooks v. City of Seattle. A police officer pulled over Brooks for speeding. Brooks, who was seven months pregnant, insisted she was not speeding and would not sign the traffic citation. After a heated discussion, Brooks refused the officer’s demand that she get out of the car. Brooks informed the officer she was pregnant. The officer opened the driver-side door, twisted Brooks’ arm behind her back, and tased her three times until she fell over. The officers then dragged Brooks out of the car face down and handcuffed her. (611 F.3d 433 (9th Cir. 2011).)
Dukes v. Deaton. During a no-knock warrant to arrest a suspected drug dealer, an officer deployed a flashbang into the suspect's bedroom window without visually inspecting the area, in violation of official instructions. The flashbang—which produces heat in excess of 2,000 degrees centigrade—landed on the suspect's bed next to his girlfriend, both of whom were sleeping. The girlfriend suffered severe burns and required hospitalization. (852 F.3d 1035 (11th Cir. 2017).)
Mullenix v. Luna. Officers deployed spike strips in an attempt to stop a fleeing suspect who threatened he was armed. One officer radioed his idea to shoot at the vehicle to disable it. Despite receiving orders from a superior not shoot at the vehicle, the officer, who was not trained in this tactic, shot six times at the vehicle and killed the suspect. Four of the shots hit the suspect in the upper body; none hit the vehicle's radiator, hood, or engine block. (577 U.S. 7 (2015).)
WE DEMAND QUAILIFED IMMUNITY IS ELIMINATED IN NC!
WE STAND WITH FAYETTEVILLE PACT AND NORTH CAROLINA STATEWIDE POLICE ACCOUNTABILITYNETWORK.