Friday, June 19, 2020
Correcting the Record
Right after we finished our forum today with journalists Erika D. Smith and Jamil Smith, I checked my phone and discovered two messages pointing to where I messed up and needed to correct the record.
Firstly, I need to note that the idea to bring Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith to the City Club was first suggested by City Club member Lynnie Powell last September. The Jamil-Erika conversation later came up independently on Twitter, via Shanelle Smith Whigham. So, big thanks to Ms. Powell for starting this last year. I should have noted your contribution during the forum. I apologize.
The second item has to do with our conversation about qualified immunity, which may have created some confusion. I was told via text that we had gotten it wrong. As this Lawfare article makes clear, qualified immunity is “a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations—like the right to be free from excessive police force—for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate ‘clearly established’ law.” Our conversation may have led audience members to think that qualified immunity protects police officers from criminal charges. It does not. It protects them from civil lawsuits in certain situations. For more, I encourage you to listen to this recent Sound of Ideas episode in which CWRU Law professor Jonathan Entin discusses this with host and Executive Editor Mike McIntyre.
Thanks for allowing us to correct the record.