June Grasso dove into Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable with Joanna Schwartz. Listen to learn more about the ins and outs of qualified immunity, the persistent myth that lawsuits threaten to bankrupt police officers, and a few of the heartbreaking stories in the book.
News & Events
"An intricate web of laws, policies, and customs protects U.S. police officers even when they abuse their power, according to this searing indictment. UCLA law professor Schwartz casts a harsh light on nearly every aspect of the justice system, from Supreme Court decisions to federal juries that 'disproportionately exclude people of color, poor people, people with criminal records, and people who have had negative experiences with the police.' According to Schwartz, the strongest police protection is qualified immunity, which shields officers from being sued for monetary damages even if they’ve violated the Constitution. Debunking the claim that if officers faced threats of litigation and bankruptcy for split-second mistakes, no one would serve in law enforcement, Schwartz notes that in 44 of America’s largest police jurisdictions, taxpayers carried the financial burden for 99.98% of settlements and judgments awarded to victims of police misconduct. (The city of Chicago paid almost half a billion dollars in such lawsuits between 2010 and 2020.) The author’s solutions include requiring officers to pay a portion of settlements entered against them, and better educating the public about the failures of the criminal justice system. Rigorous research, in-depth analysis, and poignant case studies make this a must-read study of an urgent social issue."