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US Lawmaker Justin Amash Drafts Tri Partisan Bill To End 'Qualified Immunity' For Police

US lawmaker Justin Amash who had proposed to end the Qualified Immunity Act earlier this month has now drafted a four-page tripartisan bill to end the act

Qualified Immunity

United States Representative Justin Amash who had proposed to end the Qualified Immunity Act earlier this month has now drafted a four-page tripartisan bill to end the act. Justin Amash had tabled a proposal in the Senate on June 11 to end the Qualified Immunity Act.

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What is Qualified Immunity?

Qualified Immunity doctrine was developed by the Supreme Court to address two questions: first, whether the police used excessive force, and if they did, should they have known that their act was illegal as it violated a "clearly established" prior court ruling that barred such conduct.

The rationale behind introducing qualified immunity doctrine was to protect the law enforcement officials from unwarranted lawsuits and financial liability in cases where they acted in good faith in unclear legal situations. However, in the light of the brutal assault on African American George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police officials leading to his death, and the use of excessive police force in the other incidents in recent past, the doctrine of Qualified Immunity for police force itself is in the question of being revoked and the legal battle over qualified immunity may now have reached an inflection point in the United States after George Floyd's death.

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George Floyd’s death

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man was arrested by the local police for unspecified charges on May 26. A tussle broke out between George Floyd and the police officials, which resulted in Floyd’s death after being subdued for several minutes by an officer. In a video that went viral on the internet, the officer was seen pressing his knee against Floyd's neck who was seen gasping for air before turning motionless.

George Floyd's death had triggered mass unrest in various parts of the US. The unrest and protest gave way to incidents of vandalism, rioting and damaging properties in various parts of the US. Police officer Derek Chauvin and three other officers—Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng—were later fired by the Minneapolis Police Department due to George Floyd's death. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter while the other three are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin.

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