Jay Schweikert | October 22, 2021
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court issued two unsigned opinions in Rivas-Villegas v. Cortesluna and City of Tahlequah v. Bond, both of which summarily reversed lower-court opinions that had denied qualified immunity to police officers. The reasoning in the two opinions was nearly identical – in both cases, the Court held that the officers were entitled to immunity because there were no prior judicial decisions with sufficiently similar facts as these cases.
James Craven | July 2, 2021
A New York Times article published last week explores the recent uptick in attrition within police forces. Public confidence in police fell to 48% last year, a 27‐year low, and police have reported that the loss of confidence has made it more difficult to do their jobs. Now, the fallout has hit retention rates, as police forces struggle to keep officers committed to a difficult profession that has undergone a reputational fall from grace. The article ends with an officer describing her feelings about her relationship with the public as akin to being dumped without knowing why.
But this isn’t a break-up: it’s an intervention. The American public wants to hold police accountable for wrongful acts. Confidence in policing depends on it.
Clark Neily | May 25, 2021
One year ago today, George Floyd was murdered by armed agents of the state. Their employer, the Minneapolis Police Department, initially attributed Floyd’s death to a “medical incident,” for which officers had taken him to the hospital. But because 17‐year‐old Darnella Frazier captured the horrific incident on video—and perhaps only for that reason—we know what really happened: George Floyd was brutally asphyxiated by police over a period of nearly ten minutes while he called out for his mother and bystanders begged to intervene.
Jay Schweikert | May 14, 2021
Yesterday, the IndyStar published an op-ed by Republican Senator Mike Braun on the subject: “The federal government should not reform local police departments.” On the whole, the piece is a jumble of contradictions, partisan mudslinging, and unseemly fawning over law enforcement. But wedged between all of that are also some grossly inaccurate policy arguments, the most important of which is Sen. Braun’s assertion that he opposes “any reform to the current doctrine of qualified immunity” because the doctrine “extends critical protections for law enforcement officers who are forced to act in split-second scenarios when lives are on the line.”
Clark Neily | May 14, 2021
As we approach the one‐year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, Congress stands at a crossroads: It can deliver the real reform it has repeatedly promised by overhauling qualified immunity, or it can settle for a package of largely meaningless window dressing that leaves untouched our indefensible policy of near‐zero accountability for police. From a purely policy standpoint, the choice is a no‐brainer. As explained below, it’s good politics as well.