Politics

US Supreme Court Declines To Get Rid Of Qualified Immunity For Police

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Washington, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday morning that it will not take up eight challenges to qualified immunity for police officers that had been submitted for review to the nation’s highest court.

The decision not to revisit the legal doctrine, revealed in an order released on June 15, was surprising to many who had hoped pressure from nationwide protests over the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police would force the Supreme Court justices to review those cases.

However, the matters still not completely settled because new legislation was introduced in Congress that would eliminate qualified immunity for police officers.

Qualified immunity is the legal doctrine that protects individual police officers from liability for civil damages for actions taken while acting in the capacity of a law enforcement officers, as long as the officer didn’t violate a person’s rights, according to the Public Agency Training Council’s website.

If an officer violates a person’s rights, they are not eligible to claim qualified immunity.

Qualified immunity does not offer any protection from criminal charges but was established by the U.S. Supreme Court to curb gratuitous litigation against police officers.

On a practical level, it allows law enforcement officers to make arrests and split-second decisions regarding use of force without fear of constantly having to defend themselves personally from damages, as long as the force was legal.

The issue has come up in the courts multiple times in recent years and there were eight qualified immunity cases submitted for review by the current U.S. Supreme Court, ABC News reported.

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