Retired Chicago PD officer: Qualified immunity must be reformed
It’s one thing for criminal justice reformers to call for an end to qualified immunity. But it’s something else to hear a former Chicago cop issue the same call for QI reform.
Writing in Crain’s Chicago Business, retired officer David Franco says ending qualified immunity “will begin to rebuild trust with the community.”
Since our job is to protect the same people from harm, it is only logical that impunity for misconduct makes our jobs harder. In many communities, this lack of accountability and distrust can also create fear of law enforcement, meaning that witnesses to and victims of crimes do not come forward and criminals on the street escape justice.
The vast majority of us agree policing needs “major changes” pertaining to accountability and transparency, with a genuine return to the principles of community policing. That discussion should start with qualified immunity, because two-thirds of Americans know it needs an overhaul. Without reforming qualified immunity, police will continue to be separated from the public. But make no mistake about it, the police are the public and the public are the police.
Franco adds that reform is critical to helping cops do their jobs – and increasing mutual accountability:
…[in] reforming qualified immunity, we can restore faith in our institutions and begin mending relationships with communities adversely affected by the status quo, making it easier for law enforcement to prevent and solve crime. Together, we have to be able to hold law enforcement accountable so law enforcement is better at holding themselves accountable.
Accountability from government officials? Yes – and that begins with removing the court-created shield that protects state actors from any accountability when they violate citizen’s constitutional rights.