Oklahoma Bill Would Create State Process to End Police Qualified Immunity

A bill introduced in the Oklahoma House would create a process to sue police officers and government officials in state court for the deprivation of individual rights without the possibility of “qualified immunity” as a defense.

Rep. Regina Goodwin (D) prefiled House Bill 1631 (HB1631) for introduction on Feb. 6. The legislation would create a cause of action in state courts to sue a police officer who “under color of law, subjects or causes to be subjected, including failing to intervene, any other person to the deprivation of any individual rights that create binding obligations on government actors secured by the Bill of Rights, Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution.”

The bill specifically prohibits “qualified immunity” as a defense.

Typically, people sue police for using excessive force or other types of misconduct through the federal court system under the U.S. Bill of Rights. But federal courts created a qualified immunity defense out of thin air, making it nearly impossible to hold law enforcement officers responsible for actions taken in the line of duty. In order to move ahead with a suit, the plaintiff must establish that it was “clearly established” that the officer’s action was unconstitutional. The “clearly established” test erects an almost insurmountable hurdle to those trying to prove excessive force or a violation of their rights.

In effect, the passage of HB1631 would create an alternative path to address violations of rights in state court with no qualified immunity hurdle to clear.

A similar law was passed in Colorado.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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