Today I got an email from Ben and Jerry, probably due to the fact that I met Ben a few years back at a Social Venture Network (now Social Venture Circle) event. (see pic) Ben at the time was focused on removing money from politics and giving out rubber stamps that made the point eloquently.
The email I got today is to galvanize business owners behind the topic of removing qualified immunity. The concept of cops having a legal shield similar to James Bond’s 007 (or 00) status does seem to allow for the behavior we don’t want as a society. Failure of consequences creates a moral hazard change in behavior. The email is in its entirety below.
We are inviting you to sign on to a letter from businesspeople to members of Congress asking them to pass the bill to end qualified immunity introduced by Representatives Justin Amash and Ayanna Pressley.
The doctrine of “qualified immunity” is actually a series of Supreme Court decisions that makes it difficult for victims to sue police officers for brutality.
The sign-on letter is an adapted version of a letter to members of Congress from the Players Coalition, which gathered the signatures of more than 1,400 current and retired athletes, coaches, general managers and staff members from the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. As the letter states: “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. A legal system that does not provide such a recourse is an illegitimate one.”
We believe strongly that business needs to do more than just express support. We need to use our power to advocate for structural change through legislative action. We have a unique moment of opportunity that we can’t afford to lose.
Please join us by reading and adding your name to the attached letter. And please forward widely!
Co-founders – Ben & Jerry’s
P.S. Here is a link to a ESPN article about the Players Coalition’s Letter