Police Groups Say They Don’t Back Braun’s Qualified Immunity Bill

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
July 1, 2020Updated: July 1, 2020

Several police groups said they do not support Sen. Mike Braun’s (R-Ind.) bill, which would make it easier to file civil lawsuits against police officers.

“Despite assertions to the contrary, the Indiana State Police Alliance as well as the Indiana State Police Department, did not aid in the development of this legislation and did not give our support for the bills language prior to its release,” the Indiana State Police Alliance said in a statement.

The National Fraternal Order of Police also said it does not support the bill.

“As a matter of fact, we do not support this bill and have never made any statement or other public comment which would indicate that we had done so,” Patrick Yoes, the order’s national president, said in a June 30 letter to Braun.

Braun, who couldn’t be reached Wednesday, last week introduced the Reforming Qualified Immunity Act (pdf), which he said would make it harder for government employees, including law enforcement officers, to claim qualified immunity.

The statements from police groups came after Braun appeared on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and suggested some law enforcement officials in the state he represents support his bill.

“I checked with the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Sheriff’s Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, spent over an hour with them last week, to make sure I’m not off-base,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Rayshard Brooks (C) struggling with Officers Garrett Rolfe (L) and Devin Brosnan in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant, in Atlanta, Ga., on June 13, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)

Braun said some officials feel that their own officers aren’t held accountable.

“Even law enforcement in Indiana thinks that in some of these cases, it’s giving them a bad name, and bad apples ought to be, there ought to be due process there for a victim,” he alleged.

Braun said in a statement announcing the bill that it’s up to Congress “to establish a qualified immunity law that defends law enforcement, while protecting the rights of the people.”

The bill would implement “a meaningful change that will help law enforcement and the citizens they protect,” he added.

Carlson before the segment played audio from a recent podcast in which Braun said the bill was a template “that protects law enforcement from frivolous lawsuits but holds the egregious departments and individuals accountable in these egregious instances of George Floyd or Rayshard Brooks or Breonna Taylor.”

Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over 8 minutes. Taylor was killed when Louisville police officers executed a no-knock search warrant on her apartment in March and shot her dead.

Brooks was fatally shot after he resisted arrest and stole a police officer’s stun gun before firing it at least twice at police officers. Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, who was later fired and charged with murder, fired several shots, striking Brooks twice, as Brooks moved away from him. Brooks had just fired the stun gun at Rolfe.

Carlson pressed Braun on Brooks’s case, wondering what he thought Rolfe should have done.

Braun said Rolfe should not have shot Brooks. “They were going to find him,” Braun alleged.

Braun also said on the podcast that he supports Black Lives Matter.

“I support that movement because it’s addressing an inequity that has not been solved from a grassroots level,” he said.

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