APPEAL COPS’ QUALIFIED IMMUNITY & OFFICERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS

APPEAL COPS’ QUALIFIED IMMUNITY & OFFICERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS

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Allison Derr started this petition to United States Supreme Court

The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has reignited calls for national reforms to policing, including ending qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine in United States federal law that shields government officials from being sued for discretionary actions performed within their official capacity, unless their actions violated "clearly established" federal law or constitutional right (there has to be a law already in place not allowing the police to commit a specific crime, which don’t exist, making suing them impossible). The Officers’ Bill of Rights is intended to protect American law enforcement personnel from investigation and prosecution arising from conduct during official performance of their duties, and provides them with privileges based on due process additional to those normally provided to other citizens.

Both of these keep police lawfully protected from being sued, investigated and charged as well as allow “justified” murder, police brutality, and systemic racism to continue. 

Qualified immunity permits law enforcement and other government officials to violate people’s constitutional rights with virtual impunity. Today, we hear about police shooting after police shooting where officers are rarely, if ever, held accountable by the criminal legal system, either because prosecutors decline to charge, because grand juries decline to indict, or because juries decline to convict.

Officers’ Bill of Rights gives cops privileges that regular humans in society do not. Unlike a member of the public, the officer gets a "cooling off" period before they have to respond to any questions. They quite literally get at least 24 hours to “get their story straight”. Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation is privy to the names of their complainants and their testimony against the cop before they are ever interrogated. Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation is to be interrogated "at a reasonable hour," with a union member present. Unlike a member of the public, the officer can only be questioned by one person during their interrogation. Unlike a member of the public, the officer can be interrogated only "for reasonable periods," which "shall be timed to allow for such personal necessities and rest periods as are reasonably necessary." Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation cannot be "threatened with disciplinary action" at any point during his interrogation. If he is threatened with punishment, whatever he says following the threat cannot be used against him.

Humans of society experiencing this inequality, especially black communities and all other people of color, deserve justice! The families affected deserve to know that the cop who wrongfully arrested or murdered their family members is charged, behind bars and off the streets, unable to murder or brutalize another member of the public. Just because they are cops, does not mean they should be immune to the law, especially murder. Police can reform their training tactics all they want but as long as Qualified Immunity and Officers’ Bill of Rights exist, police will continue to get away with brutality and murder. Let’s get the Supreme Court to APPEAL these both and hold police accountable for their actions!

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!