Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., took part in a spirited debate on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday over Braun’s Reforming Qualified Immunity Act, which would limit the circumstances under which law enforcement officers could avoid civil lawsuits.
Under the bill, which Braun introduced last week, officers could only claim immunity from legal action if the conduct in question had previously been authorized or required by federal or state law or regulation, or if a court had ruled the conduct was lawful and Constitutional.
Braun argued Monday that unless Republican lawmakers work to change the system, “Democrats are going to spin it” to their benefit in the November elections.
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“Chuck Schumer has already decided he can make hay of this in the election and we will end up on the short side of it again,” Braun said.
“Who controls the Senate?” Carlson fired back. “I thought Republicans controlled the Senate. So you’re taking your cues from Chuck Schumer [and] saying, ‘He might criticize me, therefore I have to pass a law that makes it easier to sue police’?”
Braun said his bill would provide “due process” for victims of police misconduct, citing the controversial shooting death earlier this month of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, which the GOP lawmaker recently described as an “egregious incident” of police brutality.
When Carlson asked pointedly whether Braun thought former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe –who fired the fatal shots after Brooks fired his own Taser at him — deserves the felony murder charge and he now faces, the senator said the decision would be “determined by the courts.”
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“You cited it,” Carlson interjected. “What do you think of it? You’re the one who called it egregious, so why don’t you tell us what Officer Rolfe should have done when this man fired a Taser at him?
“I think that you probably should have had the judgment in a traffic stop like that,” Braun answered. “You don’t shoot somebody in the back.”
“You are an officeholder,” Carlson went on. “I don’t normally press people like this but it’s not fair for you to filibuster without answering the question which is very simple. The officer facing the death penalty had a guy fire a weapon at him. What should he have done then?”
“Probably not have killed the guy,” Braun remarked.
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With the election just months away, Braun said Republicans will likely hold on to the Senate if GOP lawmakers are willing to “engage in issues that are important to the American public.”
“I don’t think the public supports you at all on this,” Carlson countered.