Friday, November 13, 2015

SCOTUS: Texas Trooper Can’t Be Sued in Shooting of Fleeing Suspect

Use of deadly force in dangerous car chase doesn’t violate Fourth Amendment, rules Supreme Court
A former Texas state trooper who fatally shot a fleeing suspect from a freeway overpass can’t be sued by the surviving family, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.
In March 2010, Chadrin Mullenix fired six shots at a Pontiac Grand Am driven by Israel Leija Jr., allegedly disregarding an order to wait before shooting. Mr. Leija had fled a Sonic Drive-In in Tulia, Texas, when a local officer tried to arrest him for a probation violation.
The court has “never found the use of deadly force in connection with a dangerous car chase to violate the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, the Supreme Court said in an unsigned opinion.
The court added it hasn’t ruled such circumstances can be “a basis for denying qualified immunity” to police who kill suspects.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented. “By sanctioning a ‘shoot first, think later’ approach to policing, the court renders the protections of the Fourth Amendment hollow,” she wrote.
The incident included a car chase and efforts to stop Mr. Leija’s vehicle, which reached speeds of up to 110 miles an hour, officials said.
Officers set up spike systems at three locations designed to deflate his car’s tires. Authorities believed Mr. Leija could have been intoxicated, and a police dispatcher reported that he called in and threatened to shoot at officers, court papers said.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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