Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Supreme Court Drops the Ball on Question of Qualified Immunity for Police Misconduct, CAP’s Ed Chung Says
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Supreme Court Drops the Ball on Question of Qualified Immunity for Police Misconduct, CAP’s Ed Chung Says

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Supreme Court declined to reexamine the doctrine of qualified immunity, which shields law enforcement officers from civil liability for police brutality and the use of excessive force. In response, Ed Chung, vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of police violence show the urgent need to hold law enforcement officers accountable for excessive force and reckless misconduct that results in needless injury and death. It’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court has declined to consider ending qualified immunity protection, which was invented by the court and has no basis in statute. The doctrine in its current form stacks the deck against victims.

Congress now has the opportunity to enact legislation that would take down this shield and end qualified immunity for law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, some conservative lawmakers have already signaled their intent to oppose it, calling it a “poison pill.” They are standing in the way of critical reforms that would go a long way to holding police officers accountable for their actions.

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For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at cmontecinos@americanprogress.org.