The R Street Institute applauds Senator Mike Braun’s (R-Indiana) introduction  of the Reforming Qualified Immunity Act. The bill would make much-needed reforms to qualified immunity, the legal doctrine created by the Supreme Court that shields police officers from personal liability brought over issues such as alleged civil rights violations or excessive use of force.
“Congress must take commonsense steps to reform qualified immunity during this moment to show they are hearing the public’s cries for police reform,” said Arthur Rizer, R Street director of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties. “Senator Braun’s bill is a solid first step toward strictly limiting qualified immunity. It would urge law enforcement officers to use caution and care when exercising any use of force, and would give Americans more opportunities to hold bad actors accountable when their rights have been violated.”
Rather than eliminate qualified immunity entirely, the legislation  would provide for a few, specific instances in which government officials—including law enforcement officers— could claim the defense of qualified immunity, with the goal of dramatically limiting its use. Critically, the legislation also flips the burden of proof onto those individuals who try to use it as a shield.
The R Street Institute also supports Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) ’s JUSTICE Act  (S.3985 ) that was introduced last week, as well as the executive order  on police reform signed by President Trump.
- “introduction”: https://www.braun.senate.gov/node/755
- “legislation”: https://www.braun.senate.gov/node/755
- “JUSTICE Act”: https://www.scott.senate.gov/media-center/press-releases/justice-act-introduced-in-united-states-senate
- “S.3985”: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3985/cosponsors?r=1&s=1&searchResultViewType=expanded
- “executive order”: https://www.rstreet.org/2020/06/16/r-street-applauds-calls-for-police-reform/