Cori Bush says she ‘will not compromise’ on police reform bill

"I didn't come to Congress to compromise on what could keep us alive," Bush said

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Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri made it clear that she will not compromise her stance on police reform.

During an appearance on CNN Newsroom on Sunday, host Abby D. Phillip asked Bush if she’d accept “a qualified immunity alternative that would hold police departments accountable” even if it meant getting the bill passed without receiving all that’s requested.

With the recent news of continued police killings of people of color, Bush said she refuses to compromise on her stance in enforcing reform.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks during a news conference to advocate for ending the Senate filibuster, outside the U.S. Capitol on April 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. With the Senate filibuster rules in place, legislative bills require 60 votes to end debate and advance, rather than a simple majority in the 100 member Senate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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“We compromise on so much. We compromise, we die. We compromise, we die. We compromise, we die. I didn’t come to Congress to compromise on what could keep us alive,” Bush responded. “It holds police officers specifically accountable because the thing is this: if you don’t hurt people, if you don’t kill people, if you are just and fair in your work, then do you need the qualified immunity anyway?”

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill addressing “a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability” would seek to eliminate both discriminatory policing practices including “qualified immunity.”

The bill, which passed in the House last month, requires 60 votes to advance in the Senate. In addition, House Democrats have also introduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, to apply the removal of all state and local government officials, including law enforcement, according to CNN. The prospects of it advancing are slim.

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Bush criticized the “safety net” of qualified immunity in place for police officers, which was established by the Supreme Court in 1967 to protect state and local officials from personal liabilities, according to CNN. She argued that protection would better serve other occupations that do “dangerous” work.

“Where are all of these special protections for nurses and for other people in other positions that do very dangerous work? That’s just trying to help people?” Bush asked. “So, no, I will not compromise on that. We need to end qualified immunity. And the reason why there’s this open lane for compromise is because they see that people will do it. “

She continued, “St. Louis did not send me here, St. Louis being number one for police murder in the country per capita and has been that way for years. The people did not send me here to save their lives by falling down on the one thing we needed the most. No!”

Despite her passion, Phillip asked Bush about the realistic possibility of the bill returning to the House with a compromise and whether she’d vote for or against it. Bush insists that she would not.

“I’m not prepared to support that.”

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