Ben & Jerry’s co-founders on Tuesday expressed their views about ending qualified immunity, wanting to make it easier for Americans to sue police officers who abuse their authority.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield announced on a virtual press conference a new campaign to end the controversial Supreme Court doctrine, which shields law enforcement officers from being personally sued for actions performed in the line of duty.
“We are now united in a coalition that is resolved to end this get-out-of-jail free card for bad cops,” Cohen said in the briefing.
“It is now time to shift from protest to policy.”
Cohen and Greenfield acts as co-chairs of The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity, while activist Shaun King and rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render joins them on the meeting.
The reform also gained bipartisan support from Republicans US Rep. Tom McClintock of California and Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, as well as Democrats Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Jay Schweikert, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, argued that the qualified immunity “doctrine is both fundamentally unlawful and fundamentally unjust.”
“It’s quite common to say in applying this doctrine, ‘Yes, your rights were violated, but we can’t find a prior case where someone else’s rights were violated in quite the same way, so you get nothing,’ and the defendant gets off scot free,” he added.
Ex-police captain Sonia Pruitt, who also acted as president of the Coalition of Black Police Officers before retiring from the force last year, backs up the claim.
“When police and police unions protect the worst in our ranks … we create divisions within our rank-and-file,” said Pruitt.
“After 28 years in policing, I can attest to the damage that this doctrine does to the public and the public trust.”
Render points out that unarmed White Americans have also been killed by the police, and not just Black Americans.
“This is happening to poor White people too,” he said.
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