Qualified immunity has acted as an almost impenetrable cloak of protection for the police force and other executive branch officials in the United States since the ‘80s. In an attempt to balance accountability and shielding, qualified immunity exempts them from suits that do not violate “clearly established” federal laws. As a result, racist and/or ill-equipped officers have, literally, gotten away with murder.
Panamanian-American artist Aloe Blacc gives the legal term center stage in a recent conversation with Rolling Stone. His request to Congress? “End qualified immunity. That is the one change that they can make that will have lasting impact.”
“The issue with politics as usual is that because we’ve been habituated to what politicians do on the Hill,” Blacc wrote, “we think, ‘OK, this is the pattern, OK, I’m going to fall into that pattern.’ And I think this is a watershed moment where we don’t have to fall into that pattern. We can say very forcefully that our voices are loud and we’re being heard: This is what we want and we want it right now.”
In June, Blacc was reportedly part of a list of over 450 artists who signed an open letter to Congress urging them to pass the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. It is currently stalled in Senate. His plan now is not to sit around and wait for them to get their act together, but rather use this time to shed light on issues such as this. He urges protesters to keep fighting and voting.
Read his plea in its entirety here.