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What is “qualified immunity,” and how does it work?

Editors note: As the national discussion of police shootings and use of force incidents continues, you’ll sometimes hear legal terms invoked without much context or explanation. The Watch has asked New York attorney Nathan Burney, author of The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law, to draw up some cartoons to help explain some of the more complex issues in this area of the law. Today Burney looks at the doctrine of qualified immunity, which protects police officers (and other public employees) from civil lawsuits.