#Players Coalition pushing to end qualified immunity

#Players Coalition pushing to end qualified immunity

June 10, 2020 | 1:07pm

A handful of current New York athletes are among the 1,400-plus players, coaches and front office personnel to sign a letter from the Players Coalition asking congress to pass a bill that would end qualified immunity for police officers and other public officials.

Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, the Jets’ Quinnen Williams, Breshad Perriman and Pierre Desir, and the Giants’ Grant Haley and Sean Chandler all signed Wednesday’s letter that demands change in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

“We are tired of conversations around police accountability that go nowhere, and we have engaged in too many ‘listening sessions’ where we discuss whether there is a problem of police violence in this country. There is a problem,” the letter reads. “The world witnessed it when Officer Chauvin murdered George Floyd, and the world is watching it now, as officers deploy enormous force on peaceful protestors like those who were standing outside of the White House last week. The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time for change.”

In addition to the large number of signatures the Players Coalition gathered, it also brought in plenty of high-profile names including Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Odell Beckham Jr., Dak Prescott, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Alex Bregman and retired Yankee CC Sabathia.

The Ending Qualified Immunity Act, introduced by representatives Justin Amash of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, seeks to reverse a 1967 doctrine that protects government officials from liability unless they are shown to have violated “clearly established” law, according to the letter.

“Qualified immunity has shielded some of the worst law enforcement officials in America,” the letter said.

“When police officers kill an unarmed man, when they beat a woman, or when they shoot a child, the people of this country must have a way to hold them accountable in a court of law. And officers must know that if they act in such a manner, there will be repercussions.”

The Players Coalition was founded in 2017 by NFL stars Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins to raise awareness about and make an impact on social justice and racial equality.

In May, the Players Coalition had sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, calling for an investigation into the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.


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