Lawmakers consider ending qualified immunity

Illinois Capitol News

Lawmakers gather on the floor of the Bank of Springfield Center for the lame-duck session for the Illinois House of Representatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, Monday, January 11, 2021, in Springfield, Ill. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) Democrats in Springfield are taking another crack at eliminating at qualified immunity.

The controversial protection for police officers has been in place since a Supreme Court ruling in 1982

The Criminal Justice Reform Bill that passed earlier this year made a lot of changes to law enforcement, but ending qualified immunity didn’t make the cut.

The legal hurdle requires precedent that an action by an officer violates somebody’s constitutional rights.

The Illinois ACLU says it causes a lot of cases to never make it to trial.

Law enforcement are fighting to kill the legislation. Opposition from police departments led to it being taken out of the black caucus’s police reform bill.

They argue that eliminating qualified immunity will lead to less people wanting to be police.

Advocates don’t see that as a problem.

“When I hear about people saying, like, if we get rid of qualified immunity at all, or change it, people aren’t gonna want to be cops,” Peter Hanna with the ACLU said. “Well, in some respects, that doesn’t trouble me as much because the people who are afraid of being accountable for violating the public’s constitutional rights, I don’t want them as cops

The bill would also require cities to disclose settlements made in cases involving police officers.

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