“Congress Must Not Be Complicit”: Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founders and ASBC Call on Business Community to Support Eliminating Qualified Immunity
Contact: Edward Erikson, edward.erikson@gmail.com

Media Release

Taking their lead from the Players Coalition, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s, along with The American Sustainable Business Council and 440 business people sent a letter to Congress  urging Members to end qualified immunity.

BURLINGTON, VT, (July 8, 2020) – The American Sustainable Business Council and a group of 440 business people issued a letter to Congress today urging Congress to end qualified immunity.  Signers of the letter include Eileen Fisher; Seth Goldman, co-founder of Eat the Change & PLNT Burger; Joey Bergstein, CEO of Seventh Generation, and many more.

“Qualified immunity is a get out of jail free card that protects police officers from being held accountable,” said Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s. “It makes it so difficult to prosecute and convict a bad cop that legal experts describe the law as  so favoring cops that its “heads I win, tails you lose.”

“The fundamental principle of ‘equal protection under the law’ is clearly violated when not everyone is held to the same standard of accountability,” said Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder and CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council.  “This becomes especially egregious when the accountability is less for those actually charged with enforcing our laws.  This must change.”

The letter urges Members of Congress to support the bi-partisan Ending Qualified Immunity Act, sponsored by House Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Justin Amash (L-MI).

“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,” the letter, titled Request for Business Leaders to Support Ending Qualified Immunity, says. “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.”

“Business people need to do more than say Black Lives Matter,” says Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s. “We need to walk the talk. Signing on to this letter and urging elected officials to end qualified immunity is one important step we can take right now.”

The full text of Pressley and Amash’s bill can be found here, and a one-page summary can be found here.

Ben and Jerry and ASBC are encouraging more business people to sign on to the letter and continue to pressure their elected officials to end qualified immunity and help end the state-sanctioned murder of Black people.