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Chiefs among 1,400 signatures supporting end of qualified immunity

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More than 1,400 of basketball, baseball and football’s current and former athletes, coaches and front office executives signed the letter.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

More than 1,400 of basketball, baseball and football’s current and former athletes, coaches and front office executives signed a letter to members of Congress in support of a bill that would eliminate qualified immunity, a statute that makes it difficult to sue police officers for brutality.

United States Representatives Justin Amash (L-Michigan) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts) introduced the bill to Congress last Thursday.

“It is time for Congress to eliminate qualified immunity, and it can do so by passing the Amash-Pressley bill,” the group wrote in the letter. “When police officers kill an unarmed man, when they beat a woman, or when they shoot a child, the people of this country must have a way to hold them accountable in a court of law. And officers must know that if they act in such a manner, there will be repercussions. A legal system that does not provide such a recourse is an illegitimate one. In their grief, people have taken to the streets because for too long, their government has failed to protect them. The Courts and elected officials alike have instead shielded people who caused unspeakable harm. Congress must not be complicit in these injustices, and it should take this important step to show that law enforcement abuse will not be tolerated.”

Many current and former members of the Chiefs — including Shawn Barber, Dwayne Bowe, Ron Parker, Tony Gonzalez, Alex Smith, Jan Stenerud, Eric Bieniemy, Mike Kafka, Sam Madison, Derrick Nnadi, Antonio Hamilton, Alex Okafor, Mike Pennel, Armani Watts and Damien Wilson — signed the letter.

ESPN’s Diana Russini added that the Players Coalition plans to host a private video meeting on Wednesday in order to discuss social justice and racial equality.

According to its website, the Players Coalition was founded in 2017 by co-founders Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins, and is governed by a Task Force Board of 12 voting members. The organization’s goal is to make an impact on social justice and racial equality at the federal, state and local levels through advocacy, awareness, education, and allocation of resources.