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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 11, 2020 12:29 PM
From: Representative Jordan A. Harris
To: All House members
Subject: Ending Immunity for Excessive Use of Force
Currently in Pennsylvania, law enforcement officers cannot be held legally responsible when senseless and indefensible violent acts result in the unnecessary serious bodily injury or death of a citizen.  This is because our laws provide both immunity for the use of force and sovereign immunity protections. 

This must change.  To that end, I will be introducing the Ending Immunity for Excessive Use of Force Act. This legislation would eliminate provisions in law that provide blanket immunity for the use of force and end sovereign and municipal immunity for instances of unjustified or excessive uses of force that result in serious bodily injury or death. 

Immunity prevents bad actors from being held accountable, which often results in systemic abuse.  Without accountability, there cannot be justice for people who are seriously injured or killed by unnecessary excessive use of force.  Without accountability, there cannot be the progress that our society desperately needs to prevent further senseless tragedies from occurring.

As members of the General Assembly, we are obligated to protect the rights of Pennsylvanians.  Ending immunity for unjustified use of force would allow us to further fulfill that obligation.  This legislation is very similar to Act 87 of 2019, which ended sovereign and municipal immunity for sexual abuse claims and passed the House with a concurrence vote of 182-5.

My goal is to save lives by preventing unnecessary deaths from occurring.  I strongly encourage you to join me in saying “enough is enough” by sponsoring this important legislation.