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Clyburn says he’s willing to compromise on qualified immunity in policing bill

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.)
Greg Nash

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Sunday said he is willing to compromise on qualified immunity to pass a policing reform bill through Congress with bipartisan support.

In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper said there is tentative agreement for policing reform legislation in Congress, but noted that the main sticking point involves qualified immunity.

When Tapper asked if he would be willing to pass a bill that the qualified immunity doctrine, Clyburn said he “will never sacrifice good on the altar of perfect.”

“I just won’t do that. I know what the perfect bill will be. We have proposed that. I want to see good legislation. And I know that, sometimes, you have to compromise,” he added.

Clyburn said that if Democrats are unable to abolish qualified immunity, they will “come back and try to get it later.”

“But I don’t want to see us throw out a good bill because we can’t get a perfect bill,” he added.

Clyburn also told Tapper that the U.S. has to do a better job of recruiting police officers.

“We have got to get good people. No matter how good the training, if you don’t have good people, the training does no good,” he added.

Democrats want to do away with qualified immunity, the doctrine that protects state and local government officials, including law enforcement, from liability in civil suits unless they violate a person’s clearly established constitutional right.

Republicans, however, are advocating for the legal principle to stay intact.

In March, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in policing Act in a 220-212 vote, with no Republicans supporting the measure.

The bill calls for ending qualified immunity for law enforcement.

Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) has introduced a counter-proposal in the upper chamber, dubbed the JUSTICE Act, which covers many of the same areas of concern outlined in the Democrats’ bill, including the banning of chokeholds.

Tags George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Jake Tapper James Clyburn police reform Qualified immunity Tim Scott

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