How the U.S. Supreme Court Lets Cops Get Away With Murder: "Qualified Immunity"

Go4Broke

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There you have it. The Supreme Court gave cops a "get out of jail free card" in 1967 and American citizens have been paying for it with their lives ever since.


U.S. courts have protected police abuses since 1967. It’s time to rethink “qualified immunity.”

Police officers don’t face justice more often for a variety of reasons — from powerful police unions to the blue wall of silence to cowardly prosecutors to reluctant juries. But it is the Supreme Court that has enabled a culture of violence and abuse by eviscerating a vital civil rights law to provide police officers what, in practice, is nearly limitless immunity from prosecution for actions taken while on the job.

In 1967, the same year the police chief of Miami coined the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” to threaten civil rights demonstrators, the Supreme Court first articulated a notion of “qualified immunity.” In the case of police violence against a group of civil rights demonstrators in Mississippi, the court decided that police officers should not face legal liability for enforcing the law “in good faith and with probable cause.” That’s a high standard to meet.

But what makes these cases nearly impossible for plaintiffs to win is the court’s requirement that any violation of rights be “clearly established” — that is, another court must have previously encountered a case with the same context and facts, and found there that the officer was not immune.
This is a judge-made rule; the civil rights law itself says nothing about a “clearly established” requirement.

Yet in practice it has meant that police officers prevail virtually every time, because it’s very hard to find cases that are the same in all respects. It also creates a Catch-22 for plaintiffs, who are required to hunt down precedents in courts that have stopped generating those precedents, because the plaintiffs always lose. As one conservative judge put it in a U.S. district court in Texas, “Heads defendants win, tails plaintiffs lose.”

Read complete article at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/...l?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
 
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justthefacts

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I didn't see this until after I bumped my previous QI thread that go zero replies.

Dr. King said, "A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?" He, of course, never believed in violence and he found it counterproductive and immoral, but he did say that if American didn't listen and change, it was going to continue.
 

KillerGopherFan

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So now you guys don’t like strong unions? Hmh. Who woulda thought?

What’s your point? I’m not a lawyer, but I do believe that police officers, as our first line of law and order, should have some protection and latitude for the difficult task of determining what force is necessary to use when presented with such difficult situations since its basically their job to be put in those situations.

Police officers are injured or killed daily in the line of duty and it can be a risky job. I would argue that the police and their tactics are more scrutinized than ever before, and that is good. But if you strip all protections away and give no margin for error in carrying out their duties, you’ll deter the most desirable prospects from ever considering a career in law enforcement.

You want to change the law? There’s a process for that. And it’s not rioting and violence.

MLK also said:

REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (speech): Now what I'm saying is this: I would like for all of us to believe in non-violence, but I'm here to say tonight that if every Negro in the United States turns against non-violence, I'm going to stand up as a lone voice and say, "This is the wrong way!"

KING (interview): I will never change in my basic idea that non-violence is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom and justice. I think for the Negro to turn to violence would be both impractical and immoral.


Violent rioting not only damages the very people and communities that it claims to be supporting, it damages the cause by turning the public against the “unheard”.

Chauvin is going to be convicted of 3rd degree murder/manslaughter and will also likely face charges of denying George Floyd’s civil rights. He will be in prison for a long time. His life is destroyed.
So this is a really odd time to make the above arguments.
 
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hungan1

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Something needs to be done. The disenfranchised people have been marginalized for too long. They see injustice committed by the very police force assigned to to protect them.

We have experienced the killing Jamar Clark, Philando Castillo, and now George Floyd by police in the Twin Cities.

There is so much rage and anger that can no longer be contained.

The George Floyd tragedy is only the beginning. If they don't have police reform, I fear a nation-wide race riot erupting in the future. There will be more cities burning. There will be more fires and unrest across the country. The current political climate make it next to impossible to affect positive change.
 

Just Gopher It!!

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Something needs to be done. The disenfranchised people have been marginalized for too long. They see injustice committed by the very police force assigned to to protect them.

We have experienced the killing Jamar Clark, Philando Castillo, and now George Floyd by police in the Twin Cities.

There is so much rage and anger that can no longer be contained.

The George Floyd tragedy is only the beginning. If they don't have police reform, I fear a nation-wide race riot erupting in the future. There will be more cities burning. There will be more fires and unrest across the country. The current political climate make it next to impossible to affect positive change.
people perform better in any occupation when they're trained better. Mpls still allows chock holds and doesn't require de-escalation techniques to be used. Saw this guy who was interviewed on a show today and his organization advocates for police reform using data (see link below) -


Also a friend of mine who works for Homeland Services as a pre-trial investigator referred me to a book called Verbal Judo which focuses teaches de-escalation techniques - just order it on Amazon - my friend told me it has helped him in his interrogations, family, all relationships etc...
 

hungan1

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people perform better in any occupation when they're trained better. Mpls still allows chock holds and doesn't require de-escalation techniques to be used. Saw this guy who was interviewed on a show today and his organization advocates for police reform using data (see link below) -


Also a friend of mine who works for Homeland Services as a pre-trial investigator referred me to a book called Verbal Judo which focuses teaches de-escalation techniques - just order it on Amazon - my friend told me it has helped him in his interrogations, family, all relationships etc...
Thanks JGI. I have to believe that there are quite a few Minneapolis police officers and those from the suburbs that are dispatched to Minneapolis who do things the right way.

Imagine what they and their families are feeling right now about the actions of some rogue police officers.

It will be a tough battle at reform with the Policeman's Union running interference at every opportunity. Mayor RT Rybak tried unsuccessfully during his tenure to overhaul the police department. Until the laws are changed that give police broad protection, they can almost get away with murder legally. These are people who are sworn to protect the citizens regardless of their circumstances.
 

Just Gopher It!!

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Appreciate your post Hungan - thanks

Thanks JGI. I have to believe that there are quite a few Minneapolis police officers and those from the suburbs that are dispatched to Minneapolis who do things the right way.

I have know some cops in my day and most are good people who hear that call to serve and follow it. Think the pay issues need to be addressed; when I was studying it in college, took a few classes, many of my friends got their criminal justice degree; we use to want to work for St. Paul or in the suburbs as they paid so much more than Mpls.

Imagine what they and their families are feeling right now about the actions of some rogue police officers.

Can't imagine how hard that would be and how angry the non-rouge cops must feel.

It will be a tough battle at reform with the Policeman's Union running interference at every opportunity. Mayor RT Rybak tried unsuccessfully during his tenure to overhaul the police department. Until the laws are changed that give police broad protection, they can almost get away with murder legally. These are people who are sworn to protect the citizens regardless of their circumstances.

Exactly - i'm pro union, but like anything they can take it too far. I'm not a legal eagle, but I wonder if there needs to be a reply of the federal law which shields them ( was reference in another thread IIRC) so that type of immunity is repealed.

I'm an optimist (or sucker, depending on you viewpoint) and this time it feels different as of now it is pretty clear - how can anyone keep kneeling on someone's neck for almost 3 minutes after they have no pule/are unresponsive, let alone do It initially?

I don't think, of course, the training will eliminate all issues, however it will be some change in the right direction and that can only help - can't imagine having a kid and have to worry about them every time they leave my house because of the color of their skin.
 

LongLiveMilesTarver

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Something needs to be done. The disenfranchised people have been marginalized for too long. They see injustice committed by the very police force assigned to to protect them.

We have experienced the killing Jamar Clark, Philando Castillo, and now George Floyd by police in the Twin Cities.

There is so much rage and anger that can no longer be contained.

The George Floyd tragedy is only the beginning. If they don't have police reform, I fear a nation-wide race riot erupting in the future. There will be more cities burning. There will be more fires and unrest across the country. The current political climate make it next to impossible to affect positive change.
You're missing one.
 

justthefacts

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So now you guys don’t like strong unions? Hmh. Who woulda thought?

What’s your point? I’m not a lawyer, but I do believe that police officers, as our first line of law and order, should have some protection and latitude for the difficult task of determining what force is necessary to use when presented with such difficult situations since its basically their job to be put in those situations.

Police officers are injured or killed daily in the line of duty and it can be a risky job. I would argue that the police and their tactics are more scrutinized than ever before, and that is good. But if you strip all protections away and give no margin for error in carrying out their duties, you’ll deter the most desirable prospects from ever considering a career in law enforcement.

You want to change the law? There’s a process for that. And it’s not rioting and violence.

MLK also said:

REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (speech): Now what I'm saying is this: I would like for all of us to believe in non-violence, but I'm here to say tonight that if every Negro in the United States turns against non-violence, I'm going to stand up as a lone voice and say, "This is the wrong way!"

KING (interview): I will never change in my basic idea that non-violence is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom and justice. I think for the Negro to turn to violence would be both impractical and immoral.


Violent rioting not only damages the very people and communities that it claims to be supporting, it damages the cause by turning the public against the “unheard”.

Chauvin is going to be convicted of 3rd degree murder/manslaughter and will also likely face charges of denying George Floyd’s civil rights. He will be in prison for a long time. His life is destroyed.
So this is a really odd time to make the above arguments.
You completely missed the point. I'm not condoning the violence. I've been very consistent on that. I'm saying that if you really want it to go way, start supporting non-violent protestors that tell you the system needs to change.

In the other QI thread there is a story of a cop who was literally allowed to steal because he's a cop. If you want less violence, oppose that.
 

hungan1

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I was appalled when someone mentioned how little the MN State Troopers are being paid. Minneapolis Police too. They need to pay the officers more so that they have living wages negating the need to moonlight as security. That is time taken away from their families.

It is all about where the money will come from. We need to take care of people who serve and protect the public.
 

KillerGopherFan

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You completely missed the point. I'm not condoning the violence. I've been very consistent on that. I'm saying that if you really want it to go way, start supporting non-violent protestors that tell you the system needs to change.

In the other QI thread there is a story of a cop who was literally allowed to steal because he's a cop. If you want less violence, oppose that.
What “non-violent protestors”? I can’t see any b/c all I can see is violence, looting, chaos, and people ignoring the curfew that was set to eliminate those criminal actions.

A “cop who was LITERALLY allowed to steal”? WTF are you talking about? I scanned the document regarding the SCOTUS case. No one “allowed” it. There was no evidence other than the claim of the individual who said he stole it. Do you know that the police didn’t investigate the claim? You’re completely ignoring the circumstances of the occurrence. He was a dirty cop and may have ripped them off after they were apparently violating the law which initiated the search warrant. But then they allowed him to come back, without other police witnesses, to search an area without their supervision.

You’re acting like it was some kind of exemption to the law that allows cops to steal without consequence. No, there was no proof that he stole those items of value. The courts did decide and the SCOTUS rejected the case for hearing as they do with thousands of appeals each year, which only means the lower court’s ruling stands.

You act like cops are walking around everyday while violating the law. Bullshit. I wish you had as much concern about the many more cases of voter fraud that occur and you claim it’s not an issue b/c it happens so infrequently. No...QI happens so infrequently it’s not worth anyone’s time or attention.
 
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justthefacts

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What “non-violent protestors”? I can’t see any b/c all I can see is violence, looting, chaos, and people ignoring the curfew that was set to eliminate those criminal actions.

A “cop who was LITERALLY allowed to steal”? WTF are you talking about? I scanned the document regarding the SCOTUS case. No one “allowed” it. There was no evidence other than the claim of the individual who said he stole it. Do you know that the police didn’t investigate the claim? You’re completely ignoring the circumstances of the occurrence. He was a dirty cop and may have ripped them off after they were apparently violating the law which initiated the search warrant. But then they allowed him to come back, without other police witnesses, to search an area without their supervision.

You’re acting like it was some kind of exemption to the law that allows cops to steal without consequence. No, there was no proof that he stole those items of value. The courts did decide and the SCOTUS rejected the case for hearing as they do with thousands of appeals each year, which only means the lower court’s ruling stands.

You act like cops are walking everyday while violating the law. Bullshit. I wish you had as much concern about the many more cases of voter fraud that occur and you claim it’s not an issue b/c it happens so infrequently. No...QI happens so infrequently it’s not worth anyone’s time or attention.
A) There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful protestors every night. You know that. Yes, there was awful violence too, but there have been many, many peaceful protests of police violence for years.

B) Colin Kaepernick was a peaceful protestor and you dismissed him and called him a commie.

C) In the specific case mentioned, the Ninth Circuit explicitly ruled that they were immune, not that there wasn't enough evidence, and then the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. From the Ninth Circuit's decision:




D) More broadly, though, qualified immunity is a problem. This thread was started about the general problem. I posted an article about the general problem in the other thread.


E) This is so emblematic of the fact that most conservatives aren't really against big, intrusive government. What they're against is taxes. True conservatives would find qualified immunity abhorrent. The Institute for Justice above has this in their twitter bio: "The Institute for Justice is the national law firm for liberty. Follow IJ: protect property, economic liberty, free speech and school choice!" That's the exact kind of thing conservatives say they're in favor of in other circumstances.
 

KillerGopherFan

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A) There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful protestors every night. You know that. Yes, there was awful violence too, but there have been many, many peaceful protests of police violence for years.

B) Colin Kaepernick was a peaceful protestor and you dismissed him and called him a commie.

C) In the specific case mentioned, the Ninth Circuit explicitly ruled that they were immune, not that there wasn't enough evidence, and then the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. From the Ninth Circuit's decision:




D) More broadly, though, qualified immunity is a problem. This thread was started about the general problem. I posted an article about the general problem in the other thread.


E) This is so emblematic of the fact that most conservatives aren't really against big, intrusive government. What they're against is taxes. True conservatives would find qualified immunity abhorrent. The Institute for Justice above has this in their twitter bio: "The Institute for Justice is the national law firm for liberty. Follow IJ: protect property, economic liberty, free speech and school choice!" That's the exact kind of thing conservatives say they're in favor of in other circumstances.
A) If you have 18 peaceful protesters with 2 violent protesters mixed in, you have a violent protest, not a peaceful one.
B) Kaepernick is a commie and a Socialist. I didn’t ignore his protest. I don’t agree with his belief about law enforcement in the US.
C) If a lefty can’t get the 9th Circuit on their side, that says something. If you have a problem with the law, there’s a process to get it changed. But I assume the purpose of the law is to give law enforcement enough room to effectively do their job without being impeded by baseless claims against them. As our society became more litigious, such protections became necessary.
D) There is no perfect law or line that can be drawn to protect everyone. There’s just practical lines.
E) That’s ridiculous. Conservatives believe that government is necessary and that we are a country of laws and not men, but that there are certainly limits. Laws that protect liberty, speech, property, etc., not that attempt to control them.
 

KillerGopherFan

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BTW JTF, do you know what peaceful protests look like?

They look like the CV-19 Lockdown protests that were going on over the last few weeks in state capitols and large cities.

Did they get noticed? Did anyone pay attention to them?

They were noticed by the general public and resented by the left. They expressed their views without violence, burning buildings, attacking cops, destroying property, etc. OMG, they weren’t social distancing, the horror. :rolleyes:

That’s what peaceful protests look like. And they didn’t do it while at their place of employment or at the expense of their employers.
 

GopherJake

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BTW JTF, do you know what peaceful protests look like?

They look like the CV-19 Lockdown protests that were going on over the last few weeks in state capitols and large cities.

Did they get noticed? Did anyone pay attention to them?

They were noticed by the general public and resented by the left. They expressed their views without violence, burning buildings, attacking cops, destroying property, etc. OMG, they weren’t social distancing, the horror. :rolleyes:

That’s what peaceful protests look like. And they didn’t do it while at their place of employment or at the expense of their employers.
So like the people protesting from 6 am to 8 pm yesterday? Like that? Like Kaepernick kneeling? Like that? I'm glad to hear that you support and agree that there is a very large contingent of peaceful protesters.

To be clear - keep the curfew on until the jackasses are all gone. Out after 8 pm? Get ready to run, get tear-gassed, paint-balled and go to jail. I'm all for it.
 

KillerGopherFan

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So like the people protesting from 6 am to 8 pm yesterday? Like that? Like Kaepernick kneeling? Like that? I'm glad to hear that you support and agree that there is a very large contingent of peaceful protesters.

To be clear - keep the curfew on until the jackasses are all gone. Out after 8 pm? Get ready to run, get tear-gassed, paint-balled and go to jail. I'm all for it.
I don’t know that the rioting was limited to after curfew, but yeah, any peaceful protesting done before curfew is fine by me.

I don’t believe employees have the right to peacefully protest while at work though, especially if it interferes with their ability to do their job or satisfy those who are paying them to do their job. They are representing a business or some entity while on the job, not their own beliefs.
 

Veritas

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Something needs to be done. The disenfranchised people have been marginalized for too long. They see injustice committed by the very police force assigned to to protect them.

We have experienced the killing Jamar Clark, Philando Castillo, and now George Floyd by police in the Twin Cities.

There is so much rage and anger that can no longer be contained.

The George Floyd tragedy is only the beginning. If they don't have police reform, I fear a nation-wide race riot erupting in the future. There will be more cities burning. There will be more fires and unrest across the country. The current political climate make it next to impossible to affect positive change.
While I agree that in this case the officer should be charged, and has (notice the past tense?) been. I continue to be amazed that there is still no such outrage at the hundreds of murders of black men, women and children by black men in this state. Nor the thousands of crimes including murder committed by black men and women against white men and especially women. How did we get to the point where the death by a person of one color of skin pigment (black only) by a person (white only) of another color of skin pigment is so much more important (need to riot and, especially, loot) than the murder of any other person? A cop senselessly killed a person and should be held accountable. The color of skin does not make any difference. Nor should it.
 

Veritas

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A) If you have 18 peaceful protesters with 2 violent protesters mixed in, you have a violent protest, not a peaceful one.
B) Kaepernick is a commie and a Socialist. I didn’t ignore his protest. I don’t agree with his belief about law enforcement in the US.
C) If a lefty can’t get the 9th Circuit on their side, that says something. If you have a problem with the law, there’s a process to get it changed. But I assume the purpose of the law is to give law enforcement enough room to effectively do their job without being impeded by baseless claims against them. As our society became more litigious, such protections became necessary.
D) There is no perfect law or line that can be drawn to protect everyone. There’s just practical lines.
E) That’s ridiculous. Conservatives believe that government is necessary and that we are a country of laws and not men, but that there are certainly limits. Laws that protect liberty, speech, property, etc., not that attempt to control them.
I was taught and taught myself that a free society has a teeter totter of both rights and responsibilities and without balance there will be neither. That is what the modern left does not understand at all. I would hope, but rather doubt, that at least some people of the left have re learned that lesson over the past week.
 

justthefacts

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I was taught and taught myself that a free society has a teeter totter of both rights and responsibilities and without balance there will be neither. That is what the modern left does not understand at all. I would hope, but rather doubt, that at least some people of the left have re learned that lesson over the past week.
Ah, yes, the responsibility of all individuals not to be beaten and robbed by police. It's so telling that when a guy gets interviewed by the FBI without previously informing his boss, it's a great miscarriage of justice and law enforcement run wild, but when the police steal from someone, that's just them needing wide latitude to do their jobs.

 

Section2

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So like the people protesting from 6 am to 8 pm yesterday? Like that? Like Kaepernick kneeling? Like that? I'm glad to hear that you support and agree that there is a very large contingent of peaceful protesters.

To be clear - keep the curfew on until the jackasses are all gone. Out after 8 pm? Get ready to run, get tear-gassed, paint-balled and go to jail. I'm all for it.
I basically agree with you. Question, I guess I just haven't noticed, since the guard came out, has there been much violence and looting locally?
 

GopherJake

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I basically agree with you. Question, I guess I just haven't noticed, since the guard came out, has there been much violence and looting locally?
There have been pockets of suspicious activity and isolated events. Two nights ago, a car was started on fire, just south of Lake. I have witnessed several "interesting" events, which, taken alone would probably be par for the course living in the city, but aggregated and in the current situation, they are concerning and suspicious. Last night was the first night I have walked my neighborhood at dusk since Memorial Day where I encountered less on-edge folks. The company line is "can we just go back to Covid only?" One neighbor of mine said it sucks being a population of busybodies - I could not agree more. But just two nights ago, I stood on one of the half-major north-south arteries near my home and watched one suspicious looking vehicle after the next headed north toward Lake Street. I'm not even sure if they are actually suspicious, or it's just a normal night and I'm just looking more intently. But it sucks feeling like I need to go out on patrol and be on high alert. One of my neighbors has barely slept in the last week. One silver lining - I've met and bonded with most of the neighbors around me that I hadn't prior. Folks of all different shapes and sizes. We were all pretty happy when we saw dozens of National Guard vehicles going north on that same artery every day.
 
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