Plain Talk: Attorney says it's "almost impossible" for cops to be held accountable for abuses

A protestor holds a sign for George Floyd during a peaceful protest Saturday evening in East Grand Forks. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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How do we fix our national problem with law enforcement abuse?

There's no single silver bullet that will do it, but on this episode of Plain Talk, Fargo defense attorney (and former cop) Mark Friese says one big step in the right direction would be to end to end the qualified immunity America's courts have created for cops.

It's a little complicated, but unless the government waives it the police have immunity from lawsuits unless the courts have established that you have the right you're accusing the cops of violating. So unless you can show the court that you have a right not to have a cop kneel on your neck until you are dead, a lawsuit with that complaint is likely to be dismissed.

This makes it "almost impossible" for law enforcement to be held accountable in the civil courts.


Friese says other steps, such as removing "incentives for police to treat people inappropriately" and generally winnowing the number of crimes on the books, would also help.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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