Governor Scott Walker seeks to remove Qualified Immunity from Police

Controversial Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker might be looking to pick a fight, with the police. Two years ago he broke the back of the powerful teachers unions. Now he is looking to hobble Wisconsin police.

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker

Emails obtained by CallTheCops indicate that Governor Walker wants to put forward a bill that would exempt police officers from Qualified Immunity.

Qualified Immunity is the doctrine that protects government officials, such as police officers, from being personally sued for actions on duty. Typically for police officers they are granted qualified immunity if they act within the scope of department policy.

But Wisconsin’s Governor does not see it that way.

In an email the Governor states this. “Most cops are doing the right thing so they never get sued. The black sheep don’t qualify for immunity so they are tossed to the wolfs. But there are just too many cops working in the gray area. They follow policy just enough to get immunity. So the city has to pay the for liability.”

Walker then outlines his plan to sell this bill to the public as a cost savings. Right now cops in that gray area are given qualified immunity, but the city still gets sued. The removal of qualified immunity should lower the instances of cities being sued.

The governor’s emails provide insight to his idea. “First this puts the officers on notice that there is no gray area, they follow policy to the letter. Second this allows the departments to fire officers (we are an “at will employment” state) thus sending a message that the individual officer is liable not the city.”

It should be noted that when Walker was running for Governor, various police unions in Wisconsin supported him. Then when Walker started to attack unions the police unions stopped their support. During the failed attempt to recall Scott Walker some police unions were very active in the recall efforts.

When asked if this bill was retaliation the governor’s office refused to comment.

Multiple officers from around the state would only talk to us “off the record”. The theme of their comments was the same. The governor is pissed that the police stopped supporting him. Now he is going to hurt the police.

One anonymous officer said this “He is on record as saying he will not disband the police union, so he can’t hurt us by breaking our union like he did to the teachers. So he will make us live in fear. Fear that every arrest, every use of force, every shift anything we do could cause the city to fire us and leave us [the cops] liable for, thousands if not millions of dollars in lawsuit judgements.”

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The staff at the CallTheCops are all people who now or at one time did work as police, firefighters, in EMS and even dispatch.