February 19, 2020

After Police Brutally Beat & Hospitalized James King, The Government Closed Ranks and Is Using a Legal Shell Game To Avoid Accountability

"In 2014, James King was a law-abiding college student who was brutally beaten and choked unconscious by members of a joint state/federal police task force after they misidentified him as a suspect sought in connection with a non-violent petty crime. Ever since that day, the government has used every tool at its disposal to ensure those officers are not held accountable to the Constitution.

As IJ Attorney Patrick Jaicomo explained, “The Fourth Amendment prevents the government from undertaking unreasonable searches and seizures. Here, at every step of the way, the officers were unreasonable in searching and seizing James, including when they beat him. We filed this lawsuit in 2016. It’s now 2020 and the government still hasn’t even filed an answer addressing all the claims that we’ve raised. Instead, they’ve spent the past four years filing different motions with courts, arguing under technicalities why they shouldn’t be held accountable rather than explaining why what they did actually wasn’t wrong.”

One of those technicalities is called “qualified immunity,” a special legal protection the Supreme Court created in the 1980s to protect government officials. Under qualified immunity, officers can violate the Constitution unless previous court rulings have explicitly prohibited that exact action by the police—a standard that has become nearly impossible to meet."

Read more at the Institute For Justice

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