Thursday, June 11, 2020

Tell Congress: Let Americans Sue Cops Again

From Restore The Fourth:

There's a pandemic of police violence in this country: The police have forgotten, if they ever knew, that the Fourth Amendment forbids them from seizing anyone without probable cause of their involvement in a crime.

This pandemic will never end so long as cops believe they face no realistic chance of being held accountable for violating people's rights. Cops kill over 1,000 Americans per year, and that 1,000 are disproportionately Black and Native American. That rate has not slowed one whit with the lockdown.

Cops aren't crazy to believe that. It's incredibly rare for cops to be arrested or charged for violent crimes, let alone convicted. And the Supreme Court has made suing them for damages incredibly hard.

Until 1967, suing cops was easier, but that year the Supreme Court blew a hole in the ability of Americans to sue cops for violating their rights, by making litigants prove cops weren't operating with a "good faith" belief that their conduct was lawful - even if it wasn't lawful. Later, the Supreme Court tightened this even further, making litigants show that it was "clearly established" that the cops' exact misconduct had been ruled unlawful by the courts. This set of decisions falls under an entirely court-invented doctrine called "Qualified Immunity."

Consequently, we are endorsing the new Ending Qualified Immunity Act, introduced by Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. It removes the good faith defense, and the "clearly established" test, allowing people abused by cops to sue again.

Make certain your representative does, too: Call (202) 224-3121 now!

If your representative is not a co-sponsor, tell them to become one. If they are, thank them for supporting the Fourth Amendment. If you don't have time to check, just express your support for Justin Amash's Ending Qualified Immunity Act!

Part of the problem here is the mewling cowardice of members of Congress, who are so scared of seeming anti-cop that they let these 1,000 killings go on, year after year.

Please stiffen your Congressmember's spine, if they have one. Call them and tell them to cosponsor the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, at (202) 224-3121.

This is not some token press release hashtagging off of Black and Native people's pain. This is a recommendation for something real that you can do now, that will help.

Don't miss this chance.

Call (202) 224-3121 Now!

Best wishes,

Alex Marthews
National Chair, Restore the Fourth