A recruiting post from the Manchester New Hampshire Police Department classified qualified immunity as a “unique benefit” in an appeal to entry-level and certified applicants.
“Located less than an hour from Boston, Manchester enjoys proximity to major schools and attractions, the beach and the White Mountains. The department offers many opportunities for advancement and additional unique benefits, including qualified immunity. Click on the link and apply now! »The post read.
A few hours later, the ministry abolished the post. “Earlier today, Manchester Police posted a recruiting post referring to qualified immunity. This post was not the place to mention qualified immunity and was not appropriate. The post has been deleted and properly archived. As Chief of Police, I take full responsibility for this position and the inappropriate mention of qualified immunity, “Chief Allen Aldenberg said in a statement. Facebook post of the department.
Qualified immunity protects public officials from prosecution for actions they take while acting in their official capacity, even if they violate someone’s constitutional rights.
Reviews like Representatives of the United States Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal and Mondaire Jones say that doctrine gives officers the freedom to use excessive force and escape liability by requiring the victim to bring a previous case in almost identical circumstances which a court has ruled unconstitutional, CNN reported.
For example, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a February 2020 case that a prison guard who pepper-sprayed a prisoner “for no reason” was entitled to qualified immunity, Prison Legal News reported.
In April, New Hampshire House lacked six votes to pass legislation that would have eliminated qualified immunity as a defense in prosecutions of public officials alleging constitutional rights violations, WMUR News 9 reported.
New Hampshire police unions, such as the Manchester Association of Police Supervisors and the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association, typically give support to applicants who support qualified immunity.
Democratic incumbent Chris Pappas, the representative for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, lost support from police unions after going public with his support for ending qualified immunity. Manchester Police Unions instead backed his Republican opponent in 2020, News WMUR 9 reported.
The Manchester Police Service and the Manchester Police Patrol Association have been contacted for statements regarding their support for qualified immunity. The Manchester Association of Police Supervisors could not be reached for a statement.