Supreme Court To Revisit Police Qualified Immunity

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Published on 6 Jun 2020, 18:00
Via America's Lawyer: The Supreme Court may soon review how police officers use “qualified immunity” to get away with aggressive misconduct on the job. RT correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to discuss.

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*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

The Supreme court might soon revisit whether legal immunity should be granted to police and all types of law enforcement who commit misconduct and who commit even murder on the job. RT's Brigida Santos is here with me now to talk about that. Brigida, this you've been covering these immunity stories one after another. The, you know, the government wants to grant immunity to corporations that pollute, corporations that kill, and they're doing it. They're doing it by way of executive order from Trump. Tell me about the legal doctrine that gives police blanket immunity in misconduct cases.
Well, it's called qualified immunity, which is a federal law that shields government officials from being sued for actions that they perform during their official duties. The Supreme Court sided with police decades ago by granting them qualified immunity, unless their behavior violated clearly established laws or constitutional rights. But now it's undeniable. There are so many police killings of unarmed civilians. They're often caught on video. Judges and scholars across both political aisles are now starting to question whether police should continue being shielded from nearly all accountability. Supreme Court justices are now reviewing over a dozen cases involving public officials in vocation of qualified immunity, which signals that the high court could soon be ready to change the rules. Now people were expecting to see something on the docket this week, but that has yet to happen. So we're all watching anxiously.
Yeah. So just to give the viewers have some understanding, this qualified immunity means that if a policeman, a policeman almost has to rise to the occasion of intentional murder. It, even it even exceeds reckless abandon in the way that they conduct their job. You almost have to get to the equivalent of recklessness that might be the same as drinking a fifth of Jack Daniels, and then speeding through a school zone and hitting two children. Maybe you're going to have, you maybe in court they're going to be able to get past qualified immunity with that kind of case. But this just keeps, this just keeps feeding itself. I think, I think though, you might see a different Supreme Court analysis. Give, give some examples of cases, Brigida, where police invoked this qualified immunity defense. Just put it in perspective for us.
Yeah. Obviously there are way too many to list, but one of the most obvious cases in which qualified immunity should not have applied yet did is came from outside of Dallas where five officers fired 17 shots at a man who was riding a bicycle 100 yards away, after mistaking him for someone else. Well, that man died and the officers got off after invoking qualified immunity, even though their actions clearly violated the constitution. Now, in other cases, we see police shooting unarmed people in convenience stores or deploying tasers until a suspect is dead. So many cases, thousands of them.
Hmm. Yeah. So here's, so you hear that, you hear some discussion, well you know, you're not going to sue the police officer anyway, you're not. You're going to sue the department who hired and trained the police officer and really blew it. But this qualified immunity as there, is that agent, that the policemen is an agent of that organization, whatever it is and so it flows right over to that organization. This is, this is a big obstacle for people who want to bring some sanity back to the way that, that some, and I got to, let me say this again. It's not police departments everywhere. Obviously this, the, you know, you see these horrendous stories, it's always the same, same background.

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