Ending Qualified Immunity is about equality and justice for all. It is the premier Civil Rights issue of our time. We are committed to a fair and transparent justice system that treats all citizens equally, regardless of their employer or any other trait.
How can I help? What can I do?
We get this question constantly, so we’ve put together a short action plan.
2. Spread the Word
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- Share Facebook posts with your friends.
- Tag the page End Qualified Immunity (@endqi on FB, @endimmunity on Twitter & Insta) in discussions about what to do to fix this.
3. Make your voice heard
We’ve simplified this as much as possible to still be effective.
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Government is just a group of people. What sets that group apart from any other group is a monopoly on the “legitimate” use of force. Because that monopoly can be abused, we have codified unalienable Civil Rights, which are specific things government is not allowed to do to citizens.
Because doing government is complicated, and a government agent could make a mistake that has the effect of violating someone’s Civil Rights, we established a type of limited immunity from liability.
Before the Harlow v. Fitzgerald case in 1982, we granted immunity to government officials only if (1) the official believed in good faith that his conduct was lawful and (2) the conduct was objectively reasonable.
The SCOTUS decided that this didn’t go far enough to protect the government, and claimed that the standard prevented government agents from doing their job.
Therefore SCOTUS established a looser standard in granting immunity, which is whether or not a reasonable person in the official’s position would have known their actions were in line with clearly established legal principles.
This doesn’t sound so bad, however the trend had been established and the application of the new doctrine progressively favored government agents to a greater and greater degree.
At this point immunity is presumed by the courts.
The result has been that before a victim of government malfeasance can even sue the government agent who violated their civil rights, they must convince the court that the government agent doesn’t deserve qualified immunity.
On the streets, the result has been government agents, including police, know that it is highly unlikely that they will ever be held accountable for violating a citizen’s civil rights.
This is why we keep seeing illegitimate killings by government agents against citizens. This is why they don’t often get prosecuted. This is why if we want to make a difference in the system that is responsible for these injustices, we need to work to #EndQualifiedImmunity