McClellan: It’s Time to Put an End to Qualified Immunity and Unjust Treatment of Black and Brown Virginians


McClellan Supported Legislation to End Qualified Immunity in 2020


RICHMOND – Today, gubernatorial candidate Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) released the following statement committing to fight for an end to qualified immunity in Virginia as Governor and calling for substantive accountability and transparency in law enforcement.


“The horrifying incident that transpired between Windsor police officers and Lt. Col. Caron Nazario is unacceptable, and we must put an end to the mistreatment of Black and Brown Virginians at the hands of law enforcement,” McClellan said. “I was proud to support Del. Jeff Bourne’s push to end qualified immunity in Virginia and pass legislation to reform sentencing for low-level offenses. As Governor, I will make it a priority on day one to stop the unjust treatment of Black and Brown communities by ending qualified immunity, demanding real accountability when the oath to protect and serve is broken, and reforming the criminalization of low-level offenses that disproportionately punish low-income Virginians and Virginians of color.


“I echo the commitment from the Virginia NAACP and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus to continue building on the sweeping reforms we have passed over the past two years to build a truly just Commonwealth where no Virginian will fear a traffic stop may be their death sentence.”


In 2020, McClellan was one of only three senators in the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted to advance HB 5013, a bill to roll back qualified immunity for police officers. The bill would have made it easier for people to sue police officers and their agencies in civil court for civil rights violations. 

McClellan has been a vocal leader in the justice reform movement throughout her entire legislative career and co-sponsored sweeping police reforms last year, including:

  • Prohibiting No Knock Warrants 

  • Banning Sex With Individuals Arrested by Law Enforcement

  • Prohibiting Hiring of Officers Fired or Resigned During Use of Force Investigations

  • Expanding Decertification Procedure for Law Enforcement Officers

  • Banning chokeholds and strangleholds 

  • Requiring Attempts at De-escalation Prior to Use of Force

  • Requiring Warnings Before Shots Fired

  • Requiring Law Enforcement to Exhaust All Other Means Prior to Using Deadly Force 

  • Creating Duty to Intervene by Fellow Law Enforcement Officers

  • Prohibiting Shooting at Moving Motor Vehicles 

  • Requiring Departments to Create a Use of Force Continuum 

  • Requiring Comprehensive Reporting by All Law Enforcement Agencies Including Use of Force Data

  • Requiring De-escalation Training and Standardizes Minimum Training

  • Eliminating Increased Law Enforcement Funding if Agency Fails to Obtain Accreditation

  • Tackling racial profiling in law enforcement by limiting pretextual traffic stops

  • Authorizing the creation of civilian review boards with the power to issue subpoenas and make binding recommendations

  • Authorizing the Attorney General to investigate police departments that deprive persons of rights, privileges or immunities

  • Establishing mental health mobile crisis co-response teams