End Qualified Immunity in Vermont
When police violate someone's civil rights, they should be held accountable for their actions and victims should get the justice they deserve.
The legal doctrine of qualified immunity prevents those things from happening, effectively closing the courthouse doors to victims of police misconduct and making it harder to hold officers accountable.
Under the doctrine of qualified immunity, victims of police misconduct must show there is already "clearly established law" where someone else's rights were violated in the same way. Unless victims can point to another case with nearly identical circumstances, their case can't go forward – even when the actions of the police resulted in serious injury or death. This can be a nearly impossible hurdle to overcome, leaving many victims and their families without meaningful justice for the harms they suffered.
Time and again, we have seen that qualified immunity is incompatible with our civil rights. That's why we, and our allies from across the political spectrum, are calling for an to end qualified immunity for police officers in Vermont.
Qualified immunity is also a major barrier in the fight for racial justice. Data shows Black people in Vermont are stopped, searched, cited, arrested, and subjected to police violence at far greater rates than white people. This over-policing means that Black people are more likely to be victims of police misconduct. Qualified immunity is yet another inexcusable feature of a legal system defined by systemic racism.
Recent statewide polling shows nearly three in four people support eliminating qualified immunity in Vermont. That includes 85 percent of Democrats – more than half of whom say they "strongly" support ending qualified immunity – and 51 percent of Republicans.
We're proud to be working with Vermont's legislative leaders and allied organizations to eliminate qualified immunity in the coming legislative session. To do that, we need you to make your voice heard – please contact your representatives today and ask them to end qualified immunity in Vermont.
With your help, Vermont can better ensure the police who violate civil rights are held accountable and victims of police misconduct can access justice.
Let your elected representatives know that you support ending qualified immunity. The form is editable so please personalize your message to let decision-makers know why this issue is important to you.
Your State Senator
Your State Representatives