Qualified immunity, writes UCLA law professor Joanna Schwartz, “has come to represent all that is wrong with police accountability.” It’s the Supreme Court-created doctrine that protects police officers from civil liability for excessive force and other misconduct unless there is a prior court case where an officer violated another person’s rights in exactly the same way – a standard that she says is virtually impossible to meet. And, Schwartz explains, it’s just one of multiple barriers that the Court and states like California have erected to make justice through civil rights lawsuits “profoundly elusive.” We’ll talk to Schwartz about how qualified immunity plays out in California and hear about efforts to reform it. Schwartz’s new book is “Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable.”
Why Qualified Immunity Makes Police 'Untouchable'
Joanna Schwartz, professor of law, University of California, Los Angeles - Her new book is "Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable"