Tom Brady, Drew Brees Among Those to Sign Players Coalition Letter Supporting the End of Qualified Immunity

Tom Brady
Tom Brady / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Players Coalition, a charity and advocacy organization founded by Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins in 2017, has collected the signatures of 1,400 athletes and coaches in support of a bill that would end qualified immunity for police officers across America. Qualified immunity currently protects police from being held personally responsible when they are accused of brutality.

Among those who have signed in support of the bill are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr. You can read the letter and look through the signatures here. Via ESPN:

"Qualified immunity has shielded some of the worst law enforcement officials in America. The 8th Circuit applied it to an officer who wrapped a woman in a bear hug, slammed her to the ground, and broke her collarbone as she walked away from him. The 9th Circuit applied the doctrine to two officers who allegedly stole $225,000 while executing a search warrant. The Eleventh Circuit applied the doctrine to protect an officer who unintentionally shot a ten-year old while firing at the family dog (who, much like the child, posed no threat). The list of officers who suffered no consequences because of this doctrine could fill a law book."

While officers can currently be fired, or tried in a court of law and found guilty, sent to jail, etc., they cannot be held personally and financially responsible and lose a civil trial. It's similar to how OJ Simpson was found not guilty in his state trial, but was found guilty in his civil trial.

The main obstacle in winning personal lawsuits in cases of qualified immunity is that the law must be "clearly established" by a previous ruling. But a previous ruling cannot currently exist because of qualified immunity. So plaintiffs are stuck looking for a legal precedent that could not have existed because there was no previous legal precedent in a complicated "chicken or the egg" scenario where neither the chicken or the egg never existed in the first place.