Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Police shoot and kill drunk teenager who would not put down pocket knife

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This blog tends to stay away from cases where the police have to subdue somebody who is acting crazy for whatever reason. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of excessive force civil claims against police for hurting or killing people who are acting crazy. Still, I am blogging the following case because I think that the result (that is, no qualified immunity) is surprising based on the facts (for example, teenager would not drop a knife for a period of minutes).

Case: GLENN v. WASHINGTON COUNTY, 10-35636 (9th Cir. 11-4-2011)

What happened: A teenager got drunk and wanted to ride his motorcycle. He argued with his parents destroyed property and held a pocket knife to his own throat. Police were called. When police got there they gave the drunken teenager a couple of minutes to drop the knife. He didn’t, so they shot him with several beanbag rounds, and, before the beanbag fire had even ceased, the police officers shot and killed the teenager with their guns.

Decision: Police may end up being liable here. Appeal court reverses district court holding of qualified immunity.

Comment: When the acting-crazy person had a knife, the police usually win in subsequent police4aqi lawsuits. I have no strong opinions about the factual reality and/or legal merits of this Glenn v. Washington County case. I am just blogging it for the surprising, to me, result at the appellate level.

Written by Burgers Allday

November 8, 2011 at 6:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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