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: 996341

Reported Deaths: 16245
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1343262101
Lake658231151
Allen57160791
Hamilton45963460
St. Joseph43954607
Elkhart35546503
Vanderburgh31975473
Tippecanoe27694256
Johnson24821440
Hendricks23647353
Porter22735362
Madison18538404
Clark18383248
Vigo17274300
Monroe15117197
LaPorte14987249
Delaware14931256
Howard14574286
Kosciusko12166147
Hancock11597175
Bartholomew11447179
Warrick11225188
Floyd10983214
Wayne10840248
Grant9898217
Morgan9361176
Boone8819115
Dubois8210129
Dearborn815492
Henry8107150
Noble7944106
Marshall7786134
Cass7462119
Lawrence7379168
Shelby7115114
Jackson691788
Gibson6480113
Harrison641591
Huntington630299
Knox6269105
DeKalb623796
Montgomery6184109
Miami586595
Putnam573477
Clinton567171
Whitley558055
Steuben550473
Wabash5250101
Jasper520475
Jefferson504695
Ripley492485
Adams472773
Daviess4596112
Scott433968
Greene421196
Wells419787
Clay418460
White414261
Decatur4118101
Fayette402186
Jennings383260
Posey374243
LaGrange352078
Washington352049
Randolph339999
Spencer336442
Fountain331858
Sullivan326652
Starke310868
Owen310169
Fulton304566
Orange290562
Jay278445
Perry264452
Franklin262742
Carroll258232
Rush257232
Vermillion254254
Parke229726
Pike227343
Tipton225659
Blackford187840
Pulaski181155
Crawford158122
Newton155648
Benton150117
Brown144047
Martin137319
Switzerland133911
Warren120116
Union106615
Ohio84012
Unassigned0532

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1494160

Reported Deaths: 23327
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1623021662
Cuyahoga1442512412
Hamilton1042291409
Montgomery729771240
Summit607921094
Lucas55462904
Butler50923707
Stark457361053
Lorain34972568
Warren32373369
Mahoning30168672
Clermont27861321
Lake26543434
Delaware23920162
Licking23442283
Trumbull22420552
Fairfield22117241
Greene22014311
Medina21673305
Clark19567349
Richland18260280
Portage17616247
Wood17174220
Allen15672269
Miami15305296
Muskingum14481174
Columbiana13656263
Wayne13538263
Tuscarawas12415298
Marion11760175
Scioto11336154
Pickaway11264141
Erie10613180
Ross10425196
Lawrence9638137
Hancock9504149
Ashtabula9410197
Belmont9086197
Geauga8795157
Jefferson8455191
Huron8193139
Union809156
Washington8009137
Sandusky7677145
Athens767072
Knox7571138
Darke7530151
Seneca7184144
Ashland6776125
Auglaize664896
Shelby6392111
Brown627382
Crawford6159130
Mercer606793
Defiance6059102
Fulton590596
Highland587199
Madison585776
Clinton575190
Logan569092
Guernsey568467
Preble5640121
Putnam5238108
Williams516784
Perry511761
Champaign502971
Jackson495470
Ottawa477886
Coshocton468382
Morrow449056
Pike429962
Fayette420760
Adams409987
Gallia409865
Hardin409276
Van Wert362378
Henry357171
Holmes3549122
Hocking350378
Wyandot316561
Carroll295459
Paulding275145
Meigs257849
Monroe212153
Noble195646
Morgan190132
Harrison177842
Vinton161724
Unassigned05
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