Virginia needs law enforcement accountability now to protect Black and Brown communities from police violence. Police officers who use excessive force in violation of the federal constitution are seldom held accountable for their actions. Many use a federal defense called “qualified immunity” as a shield from being sued by the people and families they harm.
It is time for Virginians to demand the same accountability for law enforcement officers as it has long demanded for others who commit crimes and perpetrate violence. Police are not above the law and should be held accountable in Virginia for their actions in Virginia. The federal shield of qualified immunity may persist, but Virginians need a Virginia solution to hold police accountable for their wrongdoings.
We must pass a law that gives any Virginian harmed by police the unqualified right to bring an action in a state court before a state judge to hold the police officer and their employer accountable for harm caused by their misconduct.
The ACLU of Virginia has made this one of its top priorities for the 2021 General Assembly session, and we need you to stand up and make your voice heard. We created this guide with helpful and relevant resources that you may use to reach out to your state senator and delegate. Join us and let your Virginia lawmakers know that it is time to hold police and their departments accountable for the damages caused by police misconduct.
Bill information (2021)
While these two bills are dead for the 2021 General Assembly session, they will come back next year or even this summer and we need lawmakers to know you support this effort. Now is the time to be loud.
How you can help
- Call or email your Virginia delegate and senator. You can find their contact info here: https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
- Key legislators:
- Senators in the Judiciary Committee: Edwards, Saslaw, Norment, Obenshain, McDougle, Stuart, Stanley, Chafin, Deeds, Peterson, Surovell, and Boysko
- Other senators who may influence the outcome: Favola, Peterson, Locke, Lucas, and Howell
- House members who need continued pressure: Filler-Corn, Herring, Mullin, Keam, and Watts
- Use and share our Lobby Guide
- Follow us on social media to stay posted of upcoming hearings and weekly action items
- Use the information below to help inform your call with your lawmakers.