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Diverse Group Files Petition To Put Qualified Immunity On The Ballot

Activists gather at the Ohio Statehouse to announce they’ve filed petitions for a ballot issue to qualified immunity for police officers and other public workers. The records on the ground bear the names of people killed in shootings by police officers.
Credit Karen Kasler

A group has taken the first step to asking voters next year to eliminate qualified immunity for police officers and other government employees accused in shootings or other actions. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.

The group gathered to support the ballot issue at the Statehouse included Black Lives Matter and community activists, the far-right Boogaloo Boys and libertarians. Spike Cohen was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate last year and lives in South Carolina, but says he supports ending the civil defense for police officers and other public sector workers they were just doing their jobs.

“By being able to do that, they aren’t held accountable. And what this would do is, it would disallow them from doing that. They would have to defend themselves on the merits of the case.”

Law enforcement groups say police actions in volatile situations are complex but that officers who are act within the law should be protected. The group filed its petition language with the Ohio Attorney General’s office. If it’s certified, the group would have to gather more that 440,000 signatures to get it on the next year’s ballot.