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Criminal justice reform is perhaps the public policy issue on which Americans for Prosperity’s commitment to work with anyone to do right has been most visible.
Mark Holden, AFP’s chairman of the board, joined with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the famously progressive founders of Ben & Jerry’s, for an op-ed in support of the New Mexico Civil Rights Act.
Writing in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the trio noted:
The three of us approach public policy from very different perspectives, including some issues related to criminal justice reform. But in the case of police officers charged with violating the constitutional rights of people in the communities they are sworn to protect, we speak with one voice: Qualified immunity needs to end.
Ending qualified immunity is crucial to enacting comprehensive policing reform.
“Qualified immunity allows cops and other government employees to do things that would land a regular person in jail and get away with it,” they write. “Until this overly broad legal protection is eliminated, truly comprehensive reform that transforms police culture and removes structural barriers to good policing by increasing accountability and transparency cannot be fully achieved.”
Without that accountability, trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve will continue to erode. That’s bad for the communities, bad for the vast majority of good police officers, and will inevitably result in more tragic confrontations.
Ending qualified immunity would go a long way toward solving that problem.