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Delegate Sam Rasoul discusses qualified immunity

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 11:21 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s been a long four years for the family of Keyonte Spencer, an 18-year-old who was shot by Roanoke County Police in 2016.

But it’s this local case, and other cases nationwide, that have once again brought up qualified immunity, which protects officers and government officials from lawsuits over their conduct.

“The general assembly has looked at it in the past, but it will definitely be brought up in upcoming sessions,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11).

The concept was first introduced by the supreme court in the late ’60s and has been re-examined throughout the years in different landmark cases.

The desire at a local level, especially for Keyonte’s family, is to hold leaders accountable, and to get transparency.

“So I don’t see an abuse here locally a lot myself, but what we do find is, if someone has been wronged, that’s very real, one person being wronged by a government official is too much, we just want to make sure that they have the ability to hold people accountable,” said Rasoul.

June 15, however, the Supreme Court refused to reexamine the doctrine and will need the affirmative vote of at least four justices for it to be granted review.

A date for the special session has not been set yet, but could happen in either late August or early September.

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