What the qualified immunity bill would mean to Vermonters
Live call-in discussion: State lawmakers watered down legislation this year that would have ended qualified immunity — a legal doctrine that often shields police from claims or allegations of misconduct. The current bill, which passed the Senate and is headed to the House, instead orders a study of how qualified immunity has played out in Vermont courts. The bill also codifies the right of people to sue law enforcement agencies.
Advocates who support police reform say ending qualified immunity is a step toward police accountability in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and others by police. But law enforcement organizations say ending the protection would make recruiting and keeping officers in the job very difficult and lead to unnecessary lawsuits.
This hour, we’ll look at the proposed legislation, the likelihood it will become law and how it would affect Vermonters.
Our guests are:
- Jessie Baker, board of directors president of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and South Burlington city manager
- Kiah Morris, executive director at advocacy group Rights & Democracy Vermont and former state representative
- David Sleigh, criminal defense and personal injury lawyer, SleighLaw in St. Johnsbury
- Liam Elder-Connors, reporter at VPR
Broadcast live on Thursday, March 30, 2022, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.