Booker says GOP senator has told him qualified immunity is 'on the table' in Senate police reform bill

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets MORE (D-N.J.) said Sunday that Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunSkepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal Negotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Lawmakers aim for COVID-19 relief deal this week MORE (R-Ind.) has told him the Senate’s policing reform proposals may address the doctrine of qualified immunity, despite Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottLobbyists see wins, losses in GOP coronavirus bill Revered civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis lies in state in the Capitol GOP plan would boost deduction for business meals MORE (R-S.C.) saying the White House considers the issue a “poison pill.” 

“I know the heart of Tim Scott and senators like Sen. Braun, who said to me, ‘Qualified immunity’s on the table,’” Booker said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We are one body in the United States Senate and people of good heart and good spirit, regardless of what the president does. He can veto a bill, but we should come forward in this moment in history.”

“Let’s understand that [limiting] qualified immunity right now is not a Democratic-supported thing. Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Biden VP possible next week; Meadows says relief talks 'miles apart' Hawley will only back Supreme Court picks who have said Roe v. Wade was 'wrongly decided' Should we judge judges by whether their decisions appeal to us? MORE and conservative Supreme Court justices say that we need to reexamine qualified immunity,” Booker said. “Some of my Republican colleagues in the Senate right now have come forward to me and said we need to reexamine qualified immunity.”

Booker said the legal doctrine, which shields government employees from civil liability for actions taken on the job, “allows a case in Washington where a pregnant woman, seven months pregnant, was dragged into a street for not signing a parking ticket and tased three times, no accountability.”

“I could go through horrific example after horrific example. We need to ask ourselves as a society, do we want to have a nation where police officers who do really awful things cannot be held accountable through civil rights charges?” Booker continued. “When there are so many conservative voices talking about qualified immunity and when we know that no one in America should be above the law, I think it's time that we change qualified immunity.”