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  • Ismael Barrios

The Truth About Qualified Immunity

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Qualified immunity has shielded officials from criminal prosecution for a variety of crimes, even if someone else committed them, they will likely never see the light of day again. The number of fatalities and crimes committed by police officers that were unsuccessful in causing punishment is disproportionately large.

Not only are these individuals being deprived of their rights and lives, but their families' right to file a lawsuit or complaint is being violated as well. Many residents of these communities have to bury loved ones or make a living, while these officers are on vacation pay or still out on the streets, attempting to make a living. Many officers, for example, Derek Chauvin, have had or have had numerous complaints against them, but they still remain on the streets. It is reported that as little as 10% of officers are actually investigated for misconduct, as a result of Derek Chauvin's defense, this department facilitated the murder of a human being. These officers are rarely held accountable until an alternative is unavailable, but even in these instances qualified immunity is still used to cover cases.

Many stories have been documented around the world that involve officials who sought assistance, but received the opposite result. Officers are said to be instructed on and taught specific methods of disarming individuals or managing conflict situations. However, many of these instances have resulted in individuals being mistreated or even losing their lives because of the assistance officers were supposed to provide. The titles Tony Timpa or Gabriel Eduardo olivas May may seem familiar to you, if not I hope you will always remember their tales. Tony timpa had called 911 during a psychotic episode and claimed he had skipped his medication.

The Dallas Police Department sent in their "emergency intervention team" consisting of five officers, these individuals are specifically instructed to assist people with mental disabilities. However, this is not the case following the cuffing of Timpa, the officers placed him on his stomach and kneeled on him for fourteen minutes. These officers also mocked him as he cried out in fear for his life, until he died. During a psychotic episode, a man was scared for his life and was knelt on and mocked until he passed out and died. On July 10th, 2017, Gabriel Eduardo olivas overdosed on gasoline, he then attempted to commit suicide by setting himself on fire. Because his son called 911, his fear led to the arrival of three police officers from the Arlington Police Department.

Upon arrival, these officers realized that using a taser on olives would cause them to catch fire, they even acknowledged this and discussed it. These officers continued to taser him despite allegedly seeing something resembling a lighter in his hands. The effects of these actions were that olivas' home was destroyed and 85% of his body was injured, he died shortly afterwards. This man in the middle of a mental breakdown who attempted to harm himself by voicing his desire to do so ends up being killed by the police. Both Timpa and olivas denied any responsibility or justice, both officers were granted the privilege of qualified immunity. Which shielded them from lawsuits or accusations, many of the officers still on the loose or retired in a dignified manner. Some individuals may advocate for these officers and assert that they were unable to choose otherwise or that these individuals posed a danger to the officers. Conceding that they had a legitimate immunity, here's another example from Georgia in 2014.

On July 10th, a coffee county official was dispatched to arrest someone, they were said to have stumbled upon the wrong property and ended up injuring a child. This officer attempted to shoot a family pet that didn't pose any threat to anyone, directly in front of 6 children, 2 of whom were under the age of 3. He failed to recognize the cause of the dog's erratic behavior, this officer then proceeded to command Childers to lay on the senior. These children were forcibly held at the gunpoint, as a result, they readily complied, but the dog again approached the officer.

This officer attempted to shoot him twice more: once for failing to have his weapon loaded, and once for hitting a 10-year-old boy instead. Another dispute involved only the protection of the officer through qualified immunity. Can someone justify it? Who was mistaken the dog by? The child? Was it just that these two were not brought up appropriately? Is this the reason they were wounded or killed ?

All of these families will no longer be the same, as a result of the loss of loved ones or the actions of inhumane individuals. However, they receive no compensation, no justice, and no changes. These officers just receive no attention. These are only 3 of the millions of stories and examples that illustrate the extent to which officials can disregard the law. If any of these individuals lacked badges on their chests, these incidents would have resulted in significant arrests and convictions. Many may question certain protests that involve topics like police reform, misconduct, or the desire for justice or the right to redress wrongs. However, if you're befuddled, you lack awareness of what's happening around the world. Many of these officers continue to engage in these actions without being punished, the public is not supposed to have faith in police officers.

The public is supposed to believe the police, but the opposite is true: the consequence is that the jobs of police officers become more difficult. 86% of those surveyed believe these documented instances of fatal police interactions made it harder to do their jobs. However, instead of publicly condemning these officials, they are being shielded and covered up. The bond between the public and the Officials will never be the same, these incidents if not addressed will only get worse. Families that have been searching for justice for generations, as well as families that are afraid of any and all officials.

These officials have experienced generations of hatred and distrust, they will never receive help from the public again, as a result, more and more people will be mistreated, falsely arrested or murdered. While the same individuals who participated in these actions are departing home with their families while still acting as if they hadn't just irreparably ruined the entire family's futures.

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