Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Police Officer Black Allowed To Shoot Innocent Bystanders

with one comment

Case:  COOPER v. RUTHERFORD, 11-14722 (11th Cir. 8-20-2012) (unpublished)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.

Written by Burgers Allday

August 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Clusterfuck clusterfuck clusterfuck.

    From the 11th Circuit Court’s statement of facts:

    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. …

    Though Cooper successfully wrenched the gun from the suspect’s hand, the officers continued to believe the suspect to be armed. Officer Black also observed the children in the back seat of the car.

    Officer Jessie York fired his shotgun twice at the open car door. Upon hearing these gunshots, officers on the scene concluded, albeit incorrectly, that the suspect had begun to fire upon the officers. Officer Black, along with Officers Darries Griffith and York, began to fire at the car. After firing all of the ammunition in his gun’s magazine, Black reloaded his weapon and continued firing as Cooper’s car began to move past him.

    The court’s messages to law-abiding citizens in the 11th Circuit:

    If you are a suspect, you are seized when a cop shoots you. But, if you are not a suspect, you are not seized when a cop shoots you. Criminal suspects have more rights than you law abiding peons.

    Why? Because we say so, that’s why.

    If you disarm your kidnapper, cops can and will shoot you as thanks for helping them out.

    Why? Because they’re cops and you’re not. Besides, maybe they were embarrassed because you did their job for them. They need to feel useful, you know. Do you hate cops or something?

    Nothing to see here. So shut up and move along citizen. If you can move, that is. Har-de har har.

    Too bad our ever honorable, brave and perspicacious men in blue didn’t just kill you and your kid for laughs. Then you wouldn’t be causing us so much trouble by suing them.

    En Passant

    August 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

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