Richmond Times-Dispatch

Act selflessly, wearmask to protect lives of others Remove legal loophole of qualified immunity



Time and time again these days, I hear so many people say, “What is it going to take to convince people to wear amask, practice social distancing, and do what the science prescribes to help stop the spread of infection? I just don’t get it.”

Despite the fact that there really was no coordinate­d national plan to confront the pandemic head-on, the entire scientific community— apart from a few naysayers — said that wearing masks not only protects the wearers but also will protect those who are around them. Still, the denials persist.

One problem is that the virus manifests itself differentl­y from person to person. It is not like a cold or the flu, where one would see familiar symptoms and similar reactions among those infected. And just because you might not have seen or known anyone who has contracted COVID-19 does not mean you will not contract it yourself.

And if you do contract the virus and end up in the hospital, will you still remember nonchalant­ly saying, “If I get it, I get it. I’ll deal with it if or when it happens.” Actually, someone else in the form of a first responder, a front-line worker, a discourage­d nurse or an exhausted


So many members of our law enforcemen­t agencies help provide the protection our communitie­s need. However, the few police officers who abuse their power, or enforce the law without care or empathy have poisoned the well against police officers for many across the country. There are ways to restore trust in our law enforcemen­t, including one reform that would close the legal loophole of qualified immunity.

Qualified immunity reform is fancy language that really just means this: Allow people who are victims of police brutality, and even fatal excessive force, to sue the bad cops who brutalized them. It is a simple way to protect officers who do right by our communitie­s every single day and to weed out the bad officers who perpetrate violence.

I want to trust law enforcemen­t again. I want to hold bad cops accountabl­e and keep the good ones safe. I believe that ending qualified immunity will provide the accountabi­lity we need to move forward.



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