There has been a lot of talk in the news about "qualified immunity" and how it protects police officers accused of violent misconduct. Thus, i thought I would offer a long block quote from a Washington court opinion that explains and applies the law of qualified immunity. The following quote derives from Gallegoas v. Freeman, 172 Wn.App. 616 (2013).
¶1 Qualified immunity shields a government official from liability for money damages in a lawsuit asserting the violation of a federal civil right unless the plaintiff pleads facts demonstrating that the official violated a statutory or constitutional right that was clearly established at the time of the challenged conduct. A right is “clearly established” only where existing precedent has resolved the statutory or constitutional question beyond debate—the contours of the right must be sufficiently clear that every reasonable official in the circumstances presented would have understood that the official's conduct violated that right.