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July 11, 2020

Statement from Rep. Pressley on MA Senate Bill that Addresses Qualified Immunity

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement today regarding reported efforts to weaken the qualified immunity provisions in the Massachusetts State Senate bill, the Reform, Shift and Build Act.

“The language in the original draft of the Reform, Shift and Build Act would bring us a critical step closer to ending qualified immunity in the Commonwealth. It has come to my attention that many detractors are attempting to weaken the bill. Let me be clear, qualified immunity is a barrier to accountability and healing and we must dismantle it. In any other occupation in America, there are standards of conduct and consequences for violating them—doctors can be sued for malpractice, lawyers can be sued for negligence. Policing should be no exception.

“Last month, Colorado passed legislation to end qualified immunity, and in partnership with Congressman Amash, I remain committed to eliminating qualified immunity at the federal level. Massachusetts has the opportunity to be a leader on these issues, and becoming the second state in the nation to take on qualified immunity would be a powerful statement. I urge the Massachusetts Senate to fight to preserve the language in the original bill. We will not be intimidated by scare tactics and misinformation from the police union and other special interest groups—and we will not back down in our pursuit of true justice and accountability.” 

Congresswoman Pressley has led federal efforts to eliminate qualified immunity. She is the lead co-sponsor of the bi-cameral and tri-partisan Ending Qualified Immunity Act in partnership with Congressman Justin Amash (L-MI).

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