For John, BLUF: It isn't like the death of George Floyd is unique. It is not and that is a blot on our Republic. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Here is the sub-headline:
There's a legal obstacle that's nearly impossible to overcome when police officers and government officials violate our constitutional and civil rights.
From USA Today, by Opinionators Patrick Jaicomo and Anya Bidwell, 30 May 2020.
Here is the lede plus three:
On May 25, Minneapolis police killed George Floyd. While two officers pinned the handcuffed Floyd on a city street, another fended off would-be intervenors as a fourth knelt on Floyd’s neck until — and well after — he lost consciousness.I am not against protecting government officials from the consequences of their actions when those actions are taken in good faith and for the public good. However, it has gone too far and must end, for the sake of our democracy. What we need to redress the George Floyd (and so many. other cases) case is Responsible Leadership at the Local Level. Qualified Immunity works against such responsible leadership.
But when Floyd’s family goes to court to hold the officers liable for their actions, a judge in Minnesota may very well dismiss their claims. Not because the officers didn’t do anything wrong, but because there isn’t a case from the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court specifically holding that it is unconstitutional for police to kneel on the neck of a handcuffed man for nearly nine minutes until he loses consciousness and then dies.
And such a specific case is what Floyd’s family must provide to overcome a legal doctrine called “qualified immunity” that shields police and all other government officials from accountability for their illegal and unconstitutional acts.
The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.”
Hat tip to Ann Althouse.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff