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US Senator Mike Braun proposes to reform police qualified immunity

Indiana U.S. Senator Mike Braun

Qualified immunity was granted to law enforcement to defend them while acting in good faith. However, Sen. Braun said it has been abused, and he wants to reform the doctrine.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 11:28 AM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 11:32 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN)— Indiana U.S. Senator Mike Braun is pushing to scale back some police protections.

Qualified immunity was granted to law enforcement to defend them while acting in good faith.

However, Sen. Braun said it has been abused, and he wants to reform the doctrine.

In his press release, Braun pointed to two real-life instances to explain why he thinks the current qualified immunity system isn’t working.

One of those examples included police breaking the collarbone of an unarmed woman and the other was related to police releasing a K-9 on a person who surrendered.

His proposal for reform requires police to prove there was a statute or court case in the relevant jurisdiction showing conduct was authorized.

“Unless there is a law, federal or state, or a court ruling that would make legal whatever an officer might do, that is your immunity, so to speak,” explained Braun. “If it goes beyond that, then the organization and the individual officer would have some accountability.”

Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police President William Owensby said qualified immunity does not protect police from being punished for wrongdoing.

“It does not prevent them from being criminally charged, it doesn’t prevent them from being fired, it doesn’t prevent them from having their certification revoked,” said Owensby.

Instead – he said it stops against frivolous lawsuits.

“The very first thing it would prevent is ludicrous civil actions that would bog down the system to no end,” said Owensby.

Braun wants to make sure the changes don’t hurt groups like the FOP.

“We’ve got to have some type of sensible framework out there for the sake of organizations like FOP so, for all the good work that they do, they don’t get stigmatized by these bad occurrences,” said Braun.

Owensby said he has yet to hear from Braun about his proposal.

“Simply the fact that we have not had conversations with the senator does cause me concern because I don’t know where he is getting his factual basis for the reason for him writing this bill,” said Owensby. “We’re willing to sit down with anyone at any time and talk about police reform as long as the conversation involves factual basis.”

Braun calls his proposal a landing spot that he hopes will be part of Senator Tim Scott’s bill on law enforcement reform.

“This could be part of an amendment process that brings in the discussion of qualified immunity because if it isn’t we probably won’t get any Democrats voting on the motion to proceed,” said Braun.

Senator Scott’s bill is expected to be voted on this week.

Indiana’s other U.S. Senator, Todd Young, is co-sponsoring it.

We asked him to comment on Braun’s proposal Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Young’s office said, “Qualified immunity is a very complex legal issue that merits vetting through the committee hearing process.

Senator Young is cosponsoring Senator Tim Scott’s comprehensive law enforcement reform bill, the JUSTICE Act, and continues to examine additional steps that may be needed to address police reform.”

We also asked Indiana Democratic Congressman Andre Carson to weigh in.

“For far too long, the flawed practice of qualified immunity has denied justice to victims of police misconduct and brutality.

I am encouraged that my fellow Hoosier recognizes the importance of fixing the problems with qualified immunity and has offered a proposal for the Senate to consider.

I am a strong supporter of bipartisan provisions in the House bill from Reps. Amash and Pressley, which I expect the House to approve this week.

As the legislative process advances between the House and Senate, I am cautiously optimistic that, in this unique moment in time, we will find consensus to make real change in policing that is long overdue.” U.S. Rep. Andre Carson said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
Vigo10297171
Clark9952128
Monroe8933105
Delaware8638129
LaPorte8589153
Kosciusko777375
Howard7712136
Warrick624990
Hancock621995
Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
Dearborn443343
Jackson410145
Shelby394376
Lawrence374172
Clinton359838
Gibson348556
DeKalb333063
Montgomery329150
Knox323339
Harrison317242
Miami305043
Steuben300740
Adams291635
Ripley287145
Wabash286345
Whitley286324
Huntington278757
Putnam278046
Jasper274933
White262038
Daviess255671
Jefferson242738
Fayette239248
Decatur237382
Greene229259
Posey225626
Wells225146
LaGrange222061
Scott212837
Clay212432
Randolph204940
Jennings188635
Sullivan185831
Spencer176917
Fountain175125
Washington170216
Starke169241
Jay160521
Fulton156829
Owen155536
Carroll150115
Orange146333
Rush145618
Vermillion141633
Perry141327
Franklin139333
Parke12718
Tipton126232
Pike111325
Blackford105122
Pulaski93636
Newton87820
Brown84428
Benton83010
Crawford7229
Martin68013
Warren6427
Switzerland6035
Union6033
Ohio4547
Unassigned0372

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 807293

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin95508704
Cuyahoga80262964
Hamilton59783436
Montgomery40858396
Summit32488697
Lucas29495575
Butler29100225
Stark24048388
Warren18471135
Lorain17563207
Mahoning16430334
Lake14941134
Clermont14703103
Delaware1349574
Licking12353132
Trumbull12096297
Fairfield1184280
Greene11338132
Medina10815164
Clark10334261
Wood9742153
Allen9355126
Miami867373
Portage8628104
Richland8604111
Marion7231112
Tuscarawas6987172
Columbiana6922124
Pickaway689050
Wayne6599162
Muskingum648939
Erie5729117
Hancock529088
Ross518287
Scioto508753
Geauga469955
Darke450589
Ashtabula431467
Union422327
Mercer419485
Lawrence417051
Sandusky413262
Auglaize407059
Shelby404621
Seneca404354
Huron399738
Jefferson391565
Belmont378140
Putnam359370
Washington357039
Athens35469
Madison331128
Knox329022
Ashland322538
Fulton319043
Defiance311476
Crawford306769
Preble306434
Brown289617
Logan284828
Ottawa275534
Clinton272741
Williams265757
Highland255618
Jackson250743
Guernsey234625
Champaign233727
Fayette218929
Morrow21754
Holmes215562
Perry215317
Henry206147
Hardin200932
Coshocton194517
Van Wert193744
Wyandot186948
Gallia186226
Adams160815
Pike160116
Hocking157423
Carroll143216
Paulding137521
Noble116138
Meigs99021
Monroe93827
Harrison8428
Morgan75826
Vinton64013
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