The actions of the officers accused of killing George Floyd have been universally condemned by politicians, law enforcement officials and protesters worldwide. Virtually all agree that their actions should not be excused and cannot be justified as a legitimate use of police power in any civilized society.
Resulting conversation and protest has led to widespread calls for reform, including of the ways in which our civil justice system holds law enforcement accountable when officers violate citizens’ rights. That dialogue got us to thinking about “official immunity,” which acts as a defense for suits against government actors under Georgia state law and in many other states. In the years since protests against law enforcement killings have become endemic, and despite several high-profile deadly force cases here in Georgia, we know of no effort to reform our official immunity doctrine. We think that is a mistake.
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