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Aug.06 — The U.S. Supreme Court’s legal doctrine that shields public officials from liability in civil cases is getting renewed attention during the national debate over police accountability. Qualified immunity was created by the court in the late 1960s—and expanded in the 1980s—to free public officials such as police officers from the fear of frivolous lawsuits for doing their job. Critics see as a major obstacle to holding police accountable for misconduct.

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