A Florida legislator wants to make it easier for victims of police abuse to sue.
The legislation, by newly elected state Senator Shevrin Jones, would change the qualified immunity law. The law makes it very difficult to sue police officers accused of abusive behavior, according to an article in Florida Politics. Jones will introduce his proposal in the 2021 legislative session.
“The modern qualified immunity doctrine stems from a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court case“, the publication reports.
” But opponents have pointed out the doctrine has served as a significant roadblock to holding officers responsible for violating individuals’ rights in the decades since the Supreme Court established the concept.”
Jones, a South Florida Democrat, served eight years in the Florida House. He won his state Senate seat in November, which earned him a mention in a Time magazine article, “These 2020 Candidates Made History with their Election Wins.”
His proposed law may be a heavy lift in the Republican-controlled Florida House and Senate, which will also consider a bill by GOP Governor Ron DeSantis. The devout Trump supporter wants to expand the Sunshine State’s controversial Stand Your Ground law to let people shoot looters and rioters – people the shooter deems are part of a mob.
So it is fair to say the Jones bill begins a conversation in Florida, which may gain more traction as a new generation of Americans enter office.
For example, a young conservative writer explains his position in a July 23 opinion piece at The Cornell Review. “A Conservative Approach to Police Reform” calls for a number of changes to protect people from state agents who abuse their authority.
According to Shiam Kannan, “… law enforcement officers have been shown using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, from NYPD officers driving an SUV into protestors to Buffalo cops pushing an elderly protester to the ground. And for far too long, conservatives have buried their heads in the sand, pretending that the problem of police brutality is a left-wing myth, presumably to appear “tough on crime” and maintain the perennial support of police unions come election season.”
He continues, “The reason for reform, then, is that power tends to attract people prone to abusing it. In other words, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The best way to maintain departments of good police officers is to enact policies that render the bad ones powerless.