Police Officer Black Allowed To Shoot Innocent Bystanders
Case: COOPER v. RUTHERFORD, 11-14722 (11th Cir. 8-20-2012) (unpublished)
This case arises from a tragic situation involving innocent bystanders caught in the middle of a police chase of an armed suspect. Appellees Joann Cooper (“Cooper”) and her son (collectively “Appellees”) were seriously injured when an armed bank robber attempted to elude the police by attempting to steal the car in which they were riding. Rather than allow the armed bank robber to escape with hostages, the officers on the scene fired their weapons at the suspect until he was neutralized. Unfortunately, Cooper and her son were both hit by bullets intended for the bank robber. Appellant Officer Ryan Black was one of the officers on the scene. He appeals the district court’s order finding that he is not entitled to qualified immunity for his actions stemming from this tense confrontation. Despite our sympathy for the Appellees, we reverse the district court’s order denying Officer Black qualified immunity, and remand this case with directions that Officer Black be granted qualified immunity and dismissed from this case with prejudice.
Comment: Bad bad bad. I originally had four more “bad”‘s, but the court did express sympathy. If I had given one “bad” for every shot fired by Officer Black, then there would have been 24 “bad”‘s, but that seemed like a bit much.