Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Sen. Ed Markey Reintroduces Legislation to End Qualified Immunity for Government Officials

A bill introduced in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd pushing to end qualified immunity is making the rounds again.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, (D-MA) joined Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) outside the United States Capitol on Wednesday to reintroduce their “Ending Qualified Immunity Act” legislation to end the “court-invented doctrine” that has failed to hold state and local officials “accountable for their wrongdoing.”

Pressley and Markey unveiled Wednesday in an effort to address the issue regarding public officials who violate their legal and constitutionally-secured rights. According to Pressley and Markey, the statute unjustly impacts people of color.

“Police brutality is a crisis plaguing Black and brown communities, and a crisis that will continue to go unchecked until we end the dangerous, unjust, and court-invented doctrine of qualified immunity,” said Pressley.

Rep Ayanna Pressley (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

During the press conference, Pressley raised the subject of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, also referenced as the Ku Klux Klan Act, which protected the civil and political rights of individuals, allowing them to sue public officials, including police officers, who deprived them of their constitutional rights.

“For too long, qualified immunity has prevented accountability and shielded those charged with enforcing the law from any consequences for breaking it. Our bill would restore necessary civil rights protections and is essential to providing the families of those abused by law enforcement with the healing they deserve,” the congresswoman continued. “Structural change is necessary to address this crisis and save lives, and that must include ending qualified immunity.”

“There will never be true justice for the victims and family members of police brutality, but qualified immunity deprives Americans of one of their most powerful tools to seek justice in a court of law,” said Markey. “Qualified immunity is a dangerous doctrine that protects law enforcement officers from lawsuits and personal liability for their abuses.”

“For decades, law enforcement has relied on qualified immunity to shield officers from accountability for police brutality and excessive force, far too often suffered by Black and Brown Americans. This must end. Victims and their families are due their day in court against those officials who violate their civil rights,” he added.