Saturday, October 30, 2021

In Defense of Qualified Immunity; ICYMI: SCOTUS Sides With Officers in Two Qualified Immunity Disputes; Police Knee in Back During Arrest Not ‘Excessive Force’, and related stories

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
In Defense of Qualified Immunity:
Critics of this legal protection for police officers are mistaken.
Qualified immunity is essential to effective and diligent policing. It shields good police officers from bankruptcy while still subjecting individual bad actors to personal financial repercussions. Any effort to abolish or significantly curtail this indispensable protection is a veiled attempt to defund, defame, and disarm the police in the midst of the worst violent-crime wave in a generation.
Qualified immunity safeguards police officers from personal lawsuits, unless they engage in behavior that they reasonably should have known violated a citizen’s rights. This protects officers from malicious lawsuits that would otherwise financially cripple them and hollow out departments.
Shielding civil servants from vindictive personal lawsuits is a common practice. Most government employees enjoy the same or similar protections. Park rangers, DMV clerks, judges, sanitation workers, and elected officials are all granted some level of immunity — despite the fact that none of them have to make nearly as many split-second and life-changing decisions as police officers.
Contrary to the misinformed and disingenuous arguments of critics, qualified immunity does not elevate police officers above the law, nor does it make it impossible to sue an officer for violating your rights. It is, by definition, “qualified,” limited, and conditional. As the Supreme Court held in 1986, it does not protect “the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.” A rogue officer who brutally beats a suspect or manufactures evidence, for example, can be held personally liable and sued for his actions. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Supreme Court sides with officers in two qualified immunity disputes:
The Supreme Court sided Monday with police officers in two separate disputes over cases involving qualified immunity, which protects officers from civil lawsuits so long as they acted reasonably.
In one dispute involving an ex-husband who was intoxicated in his former wife’s garage, the court unanimously said officers acted within the law when they shot and killed the man.
He had obtained a hammer from the back of the garage and approached officers in a manner suggesting he was going to swing or throw it at them.
The court said in an unsigned opinion the lower court did not present any evidence of a violation of constitutional rights when it denied the officers qualified immunity after the deceased man’s estate sued for wrongful death.
“The officers were thus entitled to qualified immunity,” the justices wrote, reversing the lower court. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to related stories

+++++Supreme Court: Police Knee in Back During Arrest Not ‘Excessive Force’+++++

Supreme Court shields police accused of excessive force under qualified immunity

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