Eliminating Qualified Immunity NC
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Dear Governor Cooper,
As the country reels from the police killings of George Floyd and others, legislators have proposed several overdue reforms to policing, one proposal is to eliminate “qualified immunity.” 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 billions of dollars that could be spent on improving quality of life.
Many cases in North Carolina has been dismissed based on Qualified Immunity, 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.
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.
We ask that you support our petition! Fayetteville PACT and Partners
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