Blair Walsingham releases stance on police reform, supports ‘revise qualified immunity’

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Democratic United States Congressional nominee Blair Walsingham just released more information about her stance on police reform.

The policy statement released Tuesday afternoon comes after Walsingham’s Republican opponent Diana Harshbarger refused to face her in a debate claiming Walsingham previously disparaged police.

When questioned by News Channel 11, Harshbarger said she’s seen and heard the comments.

Walsingham has reiterated her support for police and repeatedly denied the claims.

“We need to invest resources into building a police force equipped with modern tools that both protect officers and delivers criminals to the justice system in order that due process can be served according to our constitution,” Walsingham said.

According to a one-page flyer from the Walsingham campaign, the Hawkins County Democrat said that, if elected, she will:

  • invest in enhanced mental evaluation, training of law enforcement and leadership
  • ensure no reduction in budgeting for life-saving equipment to protect law enforcement officers
  • fund high tech capture, monitoring and identification tools according to the needs of police department to decrease risk to bystanders, aid in identification and location of suspects, and reduce the need for physical contact during conflicts
  • advocate for the creation of a 21st century federal law enforcement task force to work with private industry to develop grants for companies that respond to law enforcement needs
  • support formation of community crisis teams to assist police in non-violent scenarios
  • revise qualified immunity to reduce discrepancies in application of the policy at the judicial level

Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shields police from civil liability. Some have called for reductions or even the elimination of qualified immunity after recent incidents of police violence against black people.

News Channel 11 reached out to the Walsingham campaign for specifics on her qualified immunity revision ideas. In response, Walsingham said the following:

“Our law enforcement is forced to make tough calls at times, and DAs have vast flexibility in when and how to apply the law. It will require some significant conversation with law enforcement and victims to come up with the appropriate language and standards in consultation with members of the legal community, and its an important component of establishing a clear path forward. “

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