Dear Representative/Senator ________,
My name is _______, and I have lived in _______ for the past _____. I love this community and its people, and I am proud to call it home. I am writing to you in concern after watching countless instances of police abuses, which disproportionately and fatally impact Black communities. Though a thousand people die at the hands of the police every year, less than 0.4 percent lead to a conviction, even when these instances are caught on film. I am heartbroken and devastated by the events of the past week. I have watched my friends and neighbors get tear gassed, arrested, and beaten by officers hired to protect them while they expressed themselves in a way that the First Amendment guarantees them the right to; peacefully and legally. That to protest police brutality, we must endure police brutality is not lost on me.
I am writing to ask that you support the “Ending Qualified Immunity Act” sponsored by Representative Justin Amash. In 1967, the Supreme Court introduced the concept of qualified immunity in ruling that police officers will not be held legally liable for actions they take while upholding the law “in good faith and with probable cause.” In 1982, the scope of immunity widened significantly in Harlow v. Fitzgerald. Though it focused on absolute immunity for presidential aides, it fundamentally changed how we think about qualified immunity by declaring that a violation of rights must be “clearly established.” This means that unless the particulars of a case are identical to one where a constitutional violation was deemed to occur in a previous court case, police wield their qualified immunity with virtually no limit.
This interpretation makes it nearly impossible to establish constitutional violations today because there is no identical case for precedence -- even for blatant abuses of power, like the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. This makes victims extremely unlikely to bring cases forward, and harder still for those who do bring cases forward to receive justice.
As the agents of change in our country, we ask that you bring much-needed oversight to our police forces, mitigate the occurrence of police brutality in the future, and enable victims who suffer violations at the hands of the police to find justice in our court systems by supporting the “Ending Qualified Immunity Act.”
Thank you for your consideration.
[Your City, State, Zip]
[Your Phone Number]