While congress struggles with the decision to get rid of qualified immunity, they are passing over the obvious and over thinking the situation and going to get to a solution that no one will be happy with. I think they are approaching the problem in a completely wrong way. Every job has qualified immunity. Doctors have qualified immunity when they operate. If the patient dies due to complications, they are protected as long as they did every reasonable measure to prevent it. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be investigated, it just means that they should do their jobs the right way and if they did, then they should have nothing to worry about. Police officers should also have qualified immunity and be protected if anything goes afoul due to no fault of their own. What congress needs to do is update their definitions. One example is excessive force. As it stands excessive force is doing something that is not taught as a legal measure that leads to any kind of harm, well, that is the wrong definition. Excessive force should read doing a legal maneuver in excess that leads to grievous bodily harm and/or death. No legal maneuver should ever result in grievous bodily harm or death if done correctly or why is it being taught? I can put someone in a chicken wing but if I keep pulling it up until he/she touches the top of her scalp, then I could easily break that limb and it will never be the same again. Abuse of power and excessive force are two different situations. That’s just one example of how you can correct the problems between the community and law enforcement. Accountability is another. You should hold people accountable when they break the rules that they are governed by. Updating definitions on when you can use lethal force, should be when the officer’s life and /or the life of others are in danger if the person escapes not because he/she is not following my orders, is a good one. And you should make those rules unambiguous so there is no misunderstandings as to when someone can use lethal force. Also, shooting someone when you don’t see a weapon should be a big one. The definition of when you should fear for your life should be explicit and it should have nothing to do with the color of one’s skin, I fear for my life because he/she was black seems to be a problem. You should also mandate that the punishments for using excessive force and acting in bad faith while performing one’s duty should be punished with a minimum of losing one’s position without the chance of appeal and the possibility of a lesser punishment. If the prospect of losing a good paying job and their pensions for some of these dumb dumbs becomes a possibility, then you’ll see them smarten up quickly. The trick is getting rid of the bad apples before they become the bad apples in charge of the basket (cases).
Where congress should focus on is bad faith actors in both the Federal and State level prosecutors. Imagine being a person that was imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit and the prosecutor’s office had exculpatory evidence that would have exonerated him and yet, failed to produce it. This is more common in minority prosecutions that happens way too often. In this case, prosecutors should have to face criminal charges and the office should be able to be sued. Failure to properly do one’s duty because the person in charge looks different or doesn’t speak the same language you, the person being charged, does at home is something that should not be tolerated. Congress should take away the power from the prosecutors to charge and not charge, meaning that they should charge when the facts demonstrate a crime has been committed. That power, of not holding someone accountable, belongs to the people in form of a jury, not to a prosecutor looking for favors.