Va. police reform advocates frustrated by bill’s defeat

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia has made headlines in recent months for criminal justice reform measures, but advocates say more needs to be done. They are disappointed lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly recently killed proposals to reduce qualified immunity protections for police officers.

Qualified immunity shields government officials from civil liability while performing duties in their line of work as long as their actions don’t violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.

A House bill would have given citizens the power to pursue damages in state civil lawsuits where their rights were violated by a law enforcement officer. The bill also placed a cap on an individual officer’s liability.

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