Senate Committee Rejects Bill to Restrict Qualified Immunity for Police Officers
A Senate judiciary committee has voted down a bill that would limit the legal immunity Louisiana police officers have in wrongful death or injury cases. Shreveport Police Officers Association president Michael Carter voiced his concerns with legislation that would allow civil lawsuits against officers who acted “unreasonable.”
“Intent or gross negligence, this bill lowers that, this bill says unreasonable, whoa, there are reasonable folks walking in these halls every day that have huge arguments,” said Carter.
Carter says the legislation would also open up officers to numerous lawsuits and cops do not earn enough money to pay malpractice insurance.
Veteran Shreveport police officer Kevin Goodwin says if this became law, it would change how officers would police.
“If officer every goes to a call, which I’m still riding in a patrol car, they have that in the back of mind, I’m going to be protected or I am going to try and get my home, my family and my children,” said Goodwin as he expressed concerns over more civil lawsuits following interactions with the public.
Baton Rouge Representative Edmond Jordan’s bill received approval from the House and it had the backing of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. Jordan tried to make the case that his legislation was not designed to drive good officers away from the profession.
“This is not an anti-policing bill, this is an anti-policing bill, that’s what we are trying to deal with,” said Jordan.
The vote in the Senate Judiciary B Committee was four to two against. Republicans voted against the proposal, while Democrats supported it.