Can Compromise on Qualified Immunity Overcome Hurdles on George Floyd Act?

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Photo by Pierre Selim via Flickr

With Democrats and Republicans still locked in debate over the final details of an impending reform bill on policing, Sen. Tim Scott (R.-S.C.) has proposed a compromise on the sticking point of qualified immunity that would allow civil suits to be brought against departments instead of weakening qualified immunity for individual officers, reports Vox.

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Sen. Tim Scott

Scott’s idea is inspired by similar practices in both the medical and legal fields, in which the industry itself is held responsible for the actions of its employees. Scott believes that police departments bearing the burden of misconduct in law enforcement will result in a necessary culture shift that will eventually decrease instances of misconduct overall. His proposal went over well with the family members of victims of police and has garnered support among Democrats who see it as proof of Scott’s willingness to make progress on police reform.

However, even if Democrats decide to accept Scott’s compromise legislation, the problem of acquiring 10 Republican votes still remains, and some Republicans, such as Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), see qualified immunity reform is a non-starter. In addition, progressive Democrats, such as Representative Cori Bush, who said she would vote against Scott’s proposal, might be opposed to compromise legislation on grounds of it being inadequate.

One thought on “Can Compromise on Qualified Immunity Overcome Hurdles on George Floyd Act?

  1. Law enforcement agencies bearing the (financial) burden for the actions of its officers can provide compensation to victims after the abusive behavior occurs. Of course that only addresses victim restitution, not prevention of the abusive act. Police agencies already pay millions to abused victims every year nationally but that has done little to prevent police abuse, especially in use of force cases. Why do we think it will have any meaningful impact in the future? If the objective is to deter unlawful police overreach, the focus must be on
    the individual officer to have any hope of deterring prohibited conduct. This fact is especially significant in larger departments who
    consider such payouts the cost of doing business, and not policy game
    changers.

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