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Qualified immunity is a phrase being heavily debated right now after Joe Biden released his justice reform plan, which does not include ending qualified immunity for police officers, despite calls to do so.
Qualified immunity, at it’s most basic form, protects government officials from being held accountable for their actions. While this is wrong at every level, it is especially dangerous when it applies to the violent police force that brutalizes and murders people every single day, simply because they know they can. Qualified immunity fosters the toxic belief that pervades American law enforcement, and really the country’s government as a whole, that brutality yields no consequences.
To end qualified immunity would mean that law enforcement officers could finally be held responsible for the egregious crimes they commit on a daily basis. It would mean the laws that officers are paid to enforce would also apply to them. It is not an outlandish request to make. Nearly every major Democratic candidate included ending qualified immunity as part of their justice reform plan, except for Joe Biden.
Biden also refuses to end the war on drugs, which from the start has really been a war on people of color and low-income communities. By refusing to legalize marijuana, Biden is directly supporting policies that have allowed and will continue to allow young Black men to lose their lives to the prison system.
He has betrayed the Black community.
He has betrayed the Latinx community.
He has betrayed the communities who pay the largest price for the same drug offenses white people commit every single day.
His terrible justice reform plan betrays the beliefs of a huge portion of his voter base, and yet, this does not come as a surprise. From the beginning, supporters of other Democratic candidates such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren understood Biden to be a moderate with little to no plans of implementing the revolutionary change America so desperately needs. His laughable justice reform plan, which as it stands includes very little reform or justice, only proves this fact.
This is not to say every able person should not vote for him. While the “anyone but Trump” mindset is not a preferable one to operate under, it’s what’s necessary. But it does not mean that we lose the right to criticize the candidate we are voting for.
In today’s episode, Shaun breaks down Biden’s justice reform plan, it’s many shortcomings and the demands we must make.