March 07, 2022

Cori Bush Calls for Ending Qualified Immunity Amid Court Consideration of Stockley Protest Cases

ST. LOUIS, MO — Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush released the below statement in support of ending qualified immunity and protecting the rights of protesters following the 2017 acquittal of Jason Stockley. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is seeking qualified immunity protections for the kettling, pepper spraying, and mass arrest of protesters.

“Protest is a constitutional right that must be protected — and people who have been brutalized and abused at the hands of law enforcement deserve accountability. I am alarmed by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s attempt to use qualified immunity as a legal protection for its indefensible attacks against protestors following former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley’s acquittal in 2017. As a lawmaker and an activist, I believe qualified immunity must be eliminated in its totality. We have a duty to protect our communities, and I urge our local leaders to band together in demanding an end to qualified immunity. I will continue to push Congress to take up legislation that would remove this unjust shield and work to ensure that the rights of protesters everywhere are protected.”

Following the 2017 acquittal of Jason Stockley, protesters in St. Louis faced violence from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department — including the dangerous and controversial “kettling” technique and beating one of their own undercover officers

In January 2022, a 3-judge panel on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that “Police may be entitled to qualified immunity protections if they arrest individual offenders with at least arguable probable cause, but officers cannot enjoy such protections by alleging that ‘the unlawful acts of a small group’ justify the arrest of the mass.” Earlier this month, the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department asked the circuit to revisit the ruling en banc.

Congresswoman Bush has been outspoken in Congress about the need to eliminate qualified immunity, which is a judicial doctrine that shields law enforcement officials from liability and continues to deny accountability for police brutality. In May, she led her colleagues in calling on Congress to ensure that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act eliminates qualified immunity.


Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.