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10 hours ago by unethical_ban

I understand the arguments that "QI has reasonable goals in theory", but it is time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If cops didn't want to lose QI, they should have held themselves to account for the last few decades. Maybe the unions should have spoken up when cops steal tens of thousands of dollars in cash from a suspect, and get away with it due to QI.

San Antonio, TX will be voting in May on whether to disband the police union. "Back the Blue" types are saying it's Defund in disguise, that we won't be able to find good cops, and so on.

Except several large cities in Texas don't have unionized police, and they do alright. Furthermore, the cops in San Antonio can commit really awful crimes, and still have months- or years-long appeals.

Being a cop isn't a right, it is a privilege and a critical duty. It should be easy to fire bad cops. SAPD, if you didn't want your union to be busted, maybe you should have held yourselves to a higher standard.

9 hours ago by tinus_hn

How is it legal to vote to disband a union? Could you vote to disband the Screen Actors Guild?

9 hours ago by unethical_ban

Short version: Texas state law establishes the right for cities to decide whether their police can engage in collective bargaining.


3 hours ago by Can_Not

9 hours ago by mtnGoat

The same way you change any other service provider. You find another vendor or renegotiate. The people will vote to instruct their officials to do so. Pretty straightforward.

7 hours ago by magwa101

Texas, yeah, disguising union busting as "police reform".

7 hours ago by gamblor956

Stop with the anti-union FUD. The worst civil forfeiture abuses are in states where the law enforcement aren't unionized.

5 hours ago by unethical_ban

Tell me how that correlation is a causation.

Public unions, and police unions specifically, are distinct in their impact on society from other unions.

Police have negotiated the right to beat and murder people and keep their jobs with pay for months.

There are cities where Derek Chauvin would have been on paid leave for weeks after killing george floyd. Minneapolis had the right to fire his ass when they saw how bad a cop he was.

4 hours ago by gamblor956

I agree that police unions can be problematic when it comes to disciplining bad cops.

But don't blame them for something which is unrelated to the union itself.

There are cities where Derek Chauvin would have been on paid leave for weeks after killing george floyd.

Yes, and the police forces in those cities would all be unionized. Clearly, the issue is not the union; it is the city or county that negotiated poorly with the union. Though generally, in some states like the US Deep South, politicians are more than happy to give officers unlimited rights even without the unions requesting them.

Minneapolis had the right to fire his ass when they saw how bad a cop he was.

They fired him literally the next day. For prior incidents, none of them rose to the level justifying termination. That would have been true even in a non-union force.

6 hours ago by ksquarekumar

And I am assuming you don't have any credible data to back that claim up?

4 hours ago by gamblor956


First result on google for civil forfeiture. Followed up by searching for [law enforcement agency] and union returns zero results for the worst locations.

Police officers are unionized pretty much everywhere. Sheriffs, which carry out the most egregious civil asset forfeitures (usually in small travel-through towns), generally are not unionized outside of the big counties and states.

6 hours ago by handoflixue

Do you have any evidence for your claim?

18 hours ago by mike_d

The purpose of qualified immunity is to permit officials to carry out their discretionary duties without fear of personal liability or harassing litigation.

It applies to all parts of government. Didn't get the building permit for your kids horse barn? Sue the planning commission members individually. Animal control writes you a citation for Puddles not being on a leash? Unleash the lawyers. Health department gave your wine bar a bad rating? Sue the inspector personally.

The way to fix policing isn't by making the rest of government worse. Reform unions for employees of the people. Create independent civilian oversight boards with the teeth to suspend and terminate. Invest more in mental health and drug rehabilitation services. Invest in educational resources to teach communities how to deal with law enforcement.

Edit to add: People are confusing civil liability with criminal liability. If you are found guilty of a crime, then you can be sued.

11 hours ago by scrozart

> Invest in educational resources to teach communities how to deal with law enforcement.

You have this exactly backwards.

It's telling that instead of mentioning doing away with warrior training, for instance, you list things we, the people, need to do to deal with poorly trained cops with licenses to kill, which, in the case of the police, is exactly what this immunity grants.

The police need better training to handle the people they serve and protect, period. The police need to perform better psychological evaluations of prospective cops. The police need to develop better community relations with the communities they serve.

I agree with reforming the unions and installing more independent civilian oversight. I also agree that the U.S. needs major reform of metal health and drug rehab, but that particular issue is more of a left outer join with the issue being discussed; they overlap unfortunately, but the all-too-often grim outcomes of that overlap are due to the state of policing.

The police and their unions acting in bad faith, and abusing their immunity, is why we're here. WE don't need to clean up our interactions with police. It's the other way around.

Edited: typo, wording, and removed unnecessary emphasis

10 hours ago by throwawaydeitz1

I agree with all of your points, except for your idea of "the people they serve and protect."

If you read about the historical origins of the US police force, their (verifiably documented) lineage goes back to the days of English colonialism. Those original patrol groups were created to "protect" the damage/loss of property- namely to prevent runaway slaves from escaping their owner's control.

The US police force has, quite literally, always been first and foremost a way for the richest upper class to protect their wealth, power, and assets. They are a way to keep the status quo. The fact that they (sometimes) help poor and working class citizens is merely a by-product of their primary goal.

9 hours ago by zepto

> their (verifiably documented) lineage

Where are these documents, and what do they verify?

Saying that an institution today goes back to an institution from the past doesn’t mean that it shares the same traits. Institutions change over time.

What you need to show is that the same purpose can be documented today as was there when the police were established.

7 hours ago by m-p-3

> The US police force has, quite literally, always been first and foremost a way for the richest upper class to protect their wealth, power, and assets.

Law and "order" can also mean keeping the order of classes as is.

9 hours ago by drc37

Way to go turning the whole of the police force into a bunch of racist bigots. With many family members serving in both law enforcement and the military, this is one of the most offensive things I have heard in a long time. 99% of the police are some of the best people you will ever meet, and they will even serve and protect people like you who don't appreciate them and would spit on them if had the chance.

17 hours ago by AnthonyMouse

> The purpose of qualified immunity is to permit officials to carry out their discretionary duties without fear of personal liability or harassing litigation.

This is a general problem with the US court system. People with more resources can use it to destroy people with fewer resources, because litigation is expensive and time consuming even if you ultimately prevail.

This isn't a problem for the rich because they can survive the loss, and then the incentive to frivolously harass them isn't there when it costs you as much as it does them. It isn't a problem for government officials because of qualified immunity. It's a problem for everybody else.

Maybe we should take the exception away from government officials, to increase their incentive to solve it for everybody else.

15 hours ago by DocTomoe

Instead of creating yet another special case for government officials, the solution for the US problem is to go and take some ideas from Europe. In Germany, all costs associated with a lawsuit have to be paid/reimbursed by the losing party. This quickly solves the "I know I won't win, but lets ruin the other guy" problem.

14 hours ago by michaelt

Well, the German legal system is actually different in a bunch of ways:

1. They don't use precedent, judges rule based on legislation alone.

2. Germany criminal and administrative law uses an "inquisitorial" system where the judges perform fact-finding and question witnesses (in contrast to the "adversarial" system used in common law countries)

3. German lawyers have their fees set by the "RVG" (Act on the Remuneration of Lawyers) and even if the winner chose fancy lawyers that charge more than set by the RVG, the loser only pays the amount set by the RVG.

4. Contingency fees were completely banned until recently, and are very rarely used today.

5. There are no punitive damages awarded under the German legal system - only compensatory damages.

Between these factors, German trials cost a lot less - so legal fees don't ruin you financially even if you lose.

15 hours ago by nindalf

This rule change makes it potentially very expensive to sue large corporations. They are already more likely to win because they can afford larger, better resourced legal teams. Now the little guy also needs to pay for that legal team when they lose? You might see most people opting not to sue Comcast, McDonalds, Amazon to avoid being financially ruined.

It’s probably just best to leave it to the discretion of the courts to decide whether one side pays the costs of the other. Better than legislating that the loser always pays.

13 hours ago by CPLX

Sure but then you create a new problem, which is that there much less of an incentive to settle.

The current system is not perfect but if does very clearly incentivize people not to incur legal fees in excess of the actual amount of money being argued about.

The vast vast majority of legal cases are settled through negotiation.

14 hours ago by austincheney

That is already how it works in US civil litigation.

13 hours ago by jmull

> The purpose of qualified immunity is to permit officials to carry out their discretionary duties without fear of personal liability or harassing litigation.

Shouldn’t we all be able to carry out our lives without undue fear of personal liability or harassing litigation?

It makes no sense to provide a special civil liberty for government employees and no one else.

If we need to reign in law suits, then let’s do that for everyone.

12 hours ago by koheripbal

Yes, but certain groups of people who's job it is to confront people in the public are the recipients of orders of magnitude more complaints than the average individual.

The legal system is unfortunately set up such that there is a significant burden (time and cost) on defendants, even when cases are brought without merit.

In that way, the legal system can be "weaponized" and public employees can be influenced to act a certain way under the threat of a sea of PERSONAL lawsuits. ...something that seldom happens to individuals.

For that reason, immunity was created. I think we'll see a very sharp increase in lawsuits as a result of this change. ...and a lot of resignations. I wouldn't be a police officer if I didn't have immunity. At the very least, I would refuse to work shifts/neighborhoods with high crime.

10 hours ago by AlexTWithBeard

> who's job it is to confront people in the public

You mean bouncers, train conductors, cabin crew members and hotel receptionists?

11 hours ago by Ceezy

If you are a private security agent for a mall what's the difference with a cop patrolling a mall?

In sectors where private compete with public that's very difficult to understand why people should be regulated by different laws.

10 hours ago by landemva

"... significant burden on [rogue govt] defendants ..."

Victims currently have little or no recourse, so govt employees can run wild. Non-govt handles this by insurance (liability, error and ommission). Govt can and should do the same. Equal rights, or not?

8 hours ago by mindslight

Assuming these cases have no merit, most of that burden is needing to pay for legal representation and spend time dealing with it. In general we'd be better off if the justice system were reformed to reduce these damages for everyone. In the meantime, employer (government) policies can straightforwardly handle both of these, without needing to undermine the justice system by creating a privileged group of people.

12 hours ago by austincheney

Sure it does. I don’t want paramedics prematurely giving up on saving peoples lives because there is fear of a lawsuit.

Software developers don’t have this fear, so we get to kill people through releasing buggy bloated applications without any fear of personal liability.

10 hours ago by runako

> Software developers don’t have this fear

We should. A software engineer was one of a handful of people sentenced in the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

12 hours ago by ramphastidae

Pure nonsense. Cite these cases where software engineers have built a decades-long track record of abusing power and murdering innocents under the guise of civil service and directly abusing qualified immunity to get away with it. Or maybe tone things down.

18 hours ago by devwastaken

Qualified immunity was made up by courts, their legislating from the bench should have no merit, and therefore revoking qualified immunity is the right thing to do under checks and balances.

We need a replacement, one written in legislation, that puts fixed narrow limits on how immunity applies. If you break the law - you should receive no protections. There is no excuse for enforcers of law to not know the law. This will put the liability into officers And government workers/representatives hands and force them to respect the law.

2 hours ago by Sohcahtoa82

> There is no excuse for enforcers of law to not know the law.

I wonder how often cops break the law because they actually don't know, or if they do know but also know they'll get away with it.

For example, police are still trying to arrest people for recording them, despite courts repeatedly upholding that citizens have a right to record police. Do cops actually don't know citizens have the right to record them, or are they just making threats that they know won't hold up because they know they can get away with the lie?

16 hours ago by namdnay

> was made up by courts

That's hardly unusual in a common law system..

9 hours ago by Ericson2314

Yeah but indefinitely precedent goes way beyond its intended purpose in achieving consistency. Especially when we have legislatures that rather not weigh on in issues whenever possible because they are worried about attack ads.

If I were to tweak it, I would make precedent expire, and even obligate the legislature to vote on a bill by the time it does that the courts ratify disambiguates the issue at and. Consistency and democracy.

17 hours ago by mike_d

> Qualified immunity was made up by courts

That is how our whole system works. The first amendment for example doesn't have an explicit "yelling fire in a movie theatre" exemption, yet the courts have defined tests that determine if speech is protected.

> We need a replacement [...] If you break the law - you should receive no protections

That is exactly how it works today. Once you have been found guilty in a criminal court, you no longer have any protections against civil cases.

17 hours ago by stormbrew

> That is exactly how it works today. Once you have been found guilty in a criminal court, you no longer have any protections against civil cases.

I don't think this is true?

The test is much more narrow than this. You could potentially be convicted of a crime even if you didn't have a reasonable belief that you were doing so, but qualified immunity explicitly dictates that you have to be intending to break the law or that your actions both violate a law and that there is extremely clear precedent that they do so.

That seems, unusually for civil cases, to be a much higher bar than criminal conviction requires.

17 hours ago by nitwit005

If it's how the system is supposed to work, it's strange that members of the supreme court have complained about the lack of legal basis.

Interpreting the law, such as what the first amendment is supposed to mean, is indeed what the courts are supposed to do. Making up new laws wholesale is supposed to be the legislature's job.

12 hours ago by pessimizer

> The first amendment for example doesn't have an explicit "yelling fire in a movie theatre" exemption

Always remember that this was an argument to imprison people for passing out flyers opposing the WWI military draft.

12 hours ago by lucb1e

Since it's a USA-specific term and not very self-explanatory (I thought this was a COVID-related thing because it contains 'immunity', but it's not):

> In the United States, qualified immunity is a legal principle that grants government officials performing discretionary functions immunity from civil suits unless the plaintiff shows that the official violated "clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known".

-- Wikipedia

10 hours ago by SyzygistSix

Forget qualified immunity and civil liability. Why are police not being held criminally responsible for criminal acts? I am far more concerned about that.

9 hours ago by jellicle

The existence of one problem doesn't preclude the existence of others. Both are problematic. The law being used to sue police officers - the Ku Klux Klan Act - came into being because the Federal Congress recognized that in certain states of the Union, police officers (and other public officers) were taking actions against the public that would never be prosecuted as crimes in those states, yet were egregious and in want of a remedy. The situation is not so different today.

11 hours ago by geogra4

In practice police are almost entirely legally invulnerable. QI is part of that, and needs to go.

10 hours ago by ascagnel_

The issue isn't QI in and of itself -- as others have said, it serves a useful purpose in protecting the personal liability of government agents acting out their official duties, which can be reasonable (one example was that a planning board member shouldn't face personal liability for denying a proposal). In my mind, there are two issues (one direct, one indirect) with QI and policing specifically:

- QI has been defined as so broadly covering the police that any situation that hasn't explicitly already been defined as an overreach or overreaction will be considered as covered by QI, so officers face little to no personal accountability.

- Police and civilian oversight boards are largely ineffective at doling out substantial punishments, so officers face little to no professional accountability. Such oversight is typically fought, and fought hard, by police unions.

As a result of this, police officers face little pushback for misbehavior, or even patterns of misbehavior. Court decisions narrowing the scope of QI as it applies to police officers (eg: any behavior by a police officer that's not "by the book" would not be considered eligible for QI) would go a long way towards providing accountability.

19 hours ago by coolspot

I think that the Game theory suggests that cops will be less inclined to show up to a call or do anything to fight crime, because it could bring too much legal responsibility.

Eat donuts, ignore the radio and you will be fine.

12 hours ago by aseipp

"Cops violate citizens rights, but if we stop them their feelings might get hurt and then they might willfully stop doing their jobs, can't you see that cops are the good guys" isn't exactly the slam dunk defense you think it is.

11 hours ago by CountDrewku

Neither is a blanket statement like "cops violate citizen rights". The way to fix these issues is not to make it so the good ones are scared of helping people due to possible litigation. That's just silly.

It's already a job very few people want to do and you're making it even less desirable.

This is a good way to ensure you only get shitty cops.

14 hours ago by ookdatnog

Game theory is an abstract mathematical model. Citing mathematical models is not science: science requires experiment to verify whether your model holds up in practice.

In this case, one could gather data from different countries to see if there's any correlation between the effectiveness of police and their level of legal protection.

AFAIK, police forces in other rich nations function just fine without qualified immunity (admittedly, I have not studied this in detail).

14 hours ago by austincheney

Are police in other countries without qualified immunity more or less likely to be sued? Your argument ignores the rather important consideration of civil litigation frequency, which is a question of torts not policing.

12 hours ago by ookdatnog

If you find a single instance of a nation where the police functions well without qualified immunity, you can at least conclude that it's not a necessary condition for police to be able to operate well.

Sure, in a different context it may be a necessary condition, if you consider all other variables immutable. But there's no need to do that. Many variables can be changed, including the legal system.

I think if you observe that your legal system is so janky that you can only have a functioning police force by making police officers selectively immune to the law, your response should be to not accept such a kludge and insist on actually reforming your legal system.

13 hours ago by jmull

I’m not sure that’s the right question.

What we want is for the police to behave better.

The mechanism is increased legal liability. That is, both the fear and effects off law suits.

Presumably, law suits would have to rise, especially at first, for this to work because I’m pretty sure the fear of increased legal liability alone will not change police behavior significantly. They will need to feel the teeth of this.

11 hours ago by moolcool

"If we hold them accountable for the actions they take at their jobs jobs, they'll stop doing their jobs altogether"

Wtf kind of logic is this?

10 hours ago by Dirlewanger

Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of police in America isn't to "protect and serve". Even the Supreme Court has said they're under no obligation to protect the public.

18 hours ago by katbyte

the cops who worry about this are the ones we don't want to be cops. Its like my male friends who complained about the MeToo movement "how will i date when i have to worry about consent" - uh shouldn't you already be confident theres consent before doing anything? lol

16 hours ago by MaximumYComb

The fact that you have multiple men in your life saying this might be an indication of some of the difficulties men face. I'm making an assumption here that you chose good men to be your friends. Either you're picking sex offenders as friends or men have a difficult situation to navigate when dating?

Women are all different. Some women love the idea of men asking for consent, others would find this a huge turnoff. Not all women do non-verbal consent in the same ways. To make it harder, men are expected to be the one making the moves and taking the lead.

I just made a quick Google search - [1] contains a link to a Reddit post from ~2 years ago. This man keeps getting told "it's not sexy to ask". Some women responding love the idea, others say they would hate it. Ever since #metoo I've made sure to very careful about consent, I even get verbal consent, and I know it's turned some dating partners away. So until women make dating clearer for men maybe you should hold back some of your judgement.

P.S. I'm 35 and have an above average partner count despite actively not sleeping around. I'm not some bumbling awkward guy that's never dated women.

[1] - https://www.reddit.com/r/unpopularopinion/comments/alxofq/me...

11 hours ago by slashenbash

I think their is also a disconnect between how it actually functions in the world and what is discussed on places like Twitter which then get turned into clickbaity articles which that friend might see. He might not have actually encountered it in real life.

18 hours ago by dk775

Not true. Anyone who joins a job like that is going to want strong protections whether they use them or not. Why would I work for department X where if I make a mistake I can be ruined when department Y will trust that by going thru the process to become LE, in general I’m not looking to be a corrupt maniac. Not to mention those same depts will let me keep an AR in my trunk, send an MRAP to cover me when I am going into a sketchy situations

Similarly, why would I join a dept with a weak union when I can be in one where I’m backed by a union that for better or worse will assume innocent until proven guilty and protect the paying members.

15 hours ago by kergonath

> Anyone who joins a job like that is going to want strong protections whether they use them or not.

Then it’s not surprising if you get a bunch of bullies drunk on power with guns. They need to be accountable because they can ruin people’s lives or end them altogether, and regularly do.

> going thru the process to become LE, in general I’m not looking to be a corrupt maniac.

Then the process needs improvements. It looks like there are way too many corrupt maniacs getting through.

> Similarly, why would I join a dept with a weak union when I can be in one where I’m backed by a union that for better or worse will assume innocent until proven guilty and protect the paying members.

Innocent until proven guilty is for plebs. The problem is when they are shielded from even getting prosecuted. This is no justice.

From the society’s point of view some degree of protection of law enforcement is useful, because it helps them do their job in difficult situations. However, the rest of us need to trust law enforcement, otherwise the social contract breaks down. This means we need to trust that they get punished when they kill people they should not or when they bully and harass people for the lulz. Otherwise, what’s the incentive for them to behave?

12 hours ago by im3w1l

According to psychologists, there is a personality trait called neuroticism. Neurotic people worry about everything. They worry about getting sued. But they also worry about whether they look fat in these clothes, whether they will forget their uncles birthday, 5g radiation, microplastic partles in the air and whether the guy on the ground is dying or not.

What I'm hinting at is that a neurotic police force would be less likely to harm people. But also take less action in general, solve less crime.

10 hours ago by Igelau

I never realized that we referred to citizens of New Mexico as New Mexicans. It makes sense, I don't know what else you'd call them, but it was confusing to see that for the first time.

19 hours ago by DaiPlusPlus

I thought that because QI was defended by the SCOTUS, that even if a state doesn't have QI at all, a police officer or department sued for malpractice could still appeal to the SCOTUS and then eventually win?

19 hours ago by wahern

It's more complicated at the federal level, but in this case the bill abolishes qualified immunity when suing New Mexico officials in New Mexico courts for violations of New Mexico law. Presumably New Mexico courts adopted the federal concept of qualified immunity at some point. See https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/21%20Regular/bills/house/HB...

You usually sue state officials under Federal law when a state doesn't permit residents to sue them at all, or if the claims, defenses, or remedies are too strict. A Civil War Reconstruction-era Federal statue, the Ku Klux Klan Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan_Act), enacted under the newly granted powers of the 14th Amendment, permitted people to sue state officials whence previously they were barred by state sovereign immunity. The act was rarely used for the first 80 or so years; why I don't know. Qualified immunity is something SCOTUS cooked up after a rapid increase in such law suits caused some judicial anxiety about the potential chilling effect of supposedly frivolous law suits. To be fair, this was at a time when a rather liberal Supreme Court was effectively inventing new rights, like so-called Miranda rights, right to appointed counsel when indigent, etc, the scope of which were then unclear.

18 hours ago by arcticbull

I can't imagine anyone arguing against Miranda rights, the right to appointed council when you can't afford one, etc. Can you think of a single good reason these shouldn't exist?

Whichever rather liberal supreme court that was let's get them back ASAP!

18 hours ago by wahern

I think they make sense, but they're definitely not explicitly or even implicitly granted in the U.S. constitution, and the various legal theories (e.g. substantive due process) behind the court's power to recognize them are still vilified by conservative jurists and pundits.

Miranda Rights had historical precedence in England, but IIRC mostly after America forked.

The right to counsel mentioned in the U.S. Bill of Rights only meant you had a right to be represented by your own attorney, presuming you had the means, not that the state or court had to provide one.

18 hours ago by joosters

Isn't it more accurately called 'Miranda warning'? The point is, there are no new rights being granted, the notification is merely informing someone of their existing rights. The fifth amendment was ratified back in 1791.

18 hours ago by wahern

Fair point. I meant right to a Miranda warning. Though the Warren court also firmed up and expanded some of the underlying rights.

19 hours ago by kyrra

Lower courts would likely have to follow the SCOTUS ruling on it, but it could be argued up to the supreme court to overturn their own creation.

This is the problem with creating new rules out of whole-cloth from the bench.

18 hours ago by xxpor

Lower federal courts have no say. It's a state matter up to the supreme court of NM, and then maybe SCOTUS.

But also regardless, QI is an extension of sovereign immunity. Therefore, the legislature is free to waive it by statue. That's what NM has done. It's not saying QI doesn't exist, it's that this state waives its privileges.

19 hours ago by SavantIdiot

We'll see. Part of the Catch-22 of QI is that if it hasn't gone to trial it doesn't exist, so it doesn't go to trial. Let's see if this WinAmp's Box can be bashed open.

17 hours ago by inglor_cz

"WinAmp's Box"

Don't! If you bash it open, llamas will flood the world and whip everybody's ass in retaliation!

19 hours ago by johntb86

Supreme court rulings are always connected to the law at the time of the ruling. If a law changes (at the state, federal, or constitutional level) that can change how the supreme court will rule. The state probably couldn't invalidate QI for federal officers, but for state officers, why not?

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