Over 1,400 current and former professional athletes, coaches and front office staff have come together to sign a Players Coalition letter to Congress in support of a new bill that would end qualified immunity for public servants. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen and former Phillies top prospect and current Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford are among those within Major League Baseball to have signed the letter. Former Phillie Tony Gwynn Jr. also signed the letter. Other Philadelphia sports stars who have penned their signature include Carson Wentz and Tobias Harris.
“We are tired of conversations around police accountability that go nowhere, and we have engaged in too many ‘listening sessions’ where we discuss whether there is a problem of police violence in this country,” the letter reads. “There is a problem. The world witnessed it when Officer Chauvin murdered George Floyd, and the world is watching it now, as officers deploy enormous force on peaceful protestors like those who
were standing outside of the White House last week. The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time for change.”
McCutchen co-authored a USA Today editorial that was published June 2 calling for an end to qualified immunity as a way to change policing in America. On June 4, the Amash-Pressley bill was introduced in Congress to end qualified immunity, which offers protection for public servants such as police officers who violate a civilian’s constitutional rights.
“Qualified immunity has shielded some of the worst law enforcement officials in America,” the letter reads. “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.”
Alex Bregman, Jack Flaherty, Tim Anderson and Chris Archer are among those in the baseball world to have signed the letter.
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