ACTION BRIEF

Redefining Qualified Immunity

The CJR Solution

We support revising qualified immunity protections for law enforcement to a more finite definition that ensures police officers are held accountable for brutality, civil rights violations, and other illegal conduct. In the spirit of advancing police reform on a national, state, and local scale, CJR recommends the following:

  • Redefine qualified immunity protections to prioritize protecting civilians from police brutality instead of shielding officers from being charged for injuries and deaths they cause. This is essential to deterring police misconduct and upholding the 1st and 4th Amendment rights of victims of police violence in courts.
  • Enact federal and state legislation to establish common standards for limited qualified immunity provisions. State legislatures should not wait on federal action to enact reforms needed in their communities.
  • Utilize independent prosecutors in all police investigations in order for officer misconduct to be objectively reviewed and held accountable, where necessary.
  • Enhance education and training within police agencies to ensure that officers have the knowledge, skills, and tools to respond appropriately in carrying out their duties without violating the civil rights of those they aim to protect.

11 Darby, L. (2020). This Is How Much Major Cities Prioritize Police Spending Versus Everything Else. GQ. https://www.gq.com/story/cops-cost-billions.

12 The Wall Street Journal. (2020). Social Workers Cooperate With Police Forces.

13 Interrupting Criminalization. The Demand Is Still #DefundPolice.

This action brief is one in a series of issue briefs offering concrete solutions to save lives,reduce police brutality, promote equal justice, and build safe, positive relations between police and the people they serve. Other action briefs cover:

1. Ban Chokeholds

2. Duty to Intervene

3. Ban No-Knock Warrants