Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Pet owners win dog shooting case in Ninth Circuit split decision

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Case: Thurston v. CITY OF NORTH LAS VEGAS POLICE DEPARTMENT, No. 12-15729 (9th Circuit 2014, not for publication)


As this court ruled in [a previous case], a reasonable officer “should have known that to create a plan to enter the perimeter of a person’s property, knowing all the while about the presence of dogs on the property, without considering a method of subduing the dogs besides killing them, would violate the Fourth Amendment.” . . . Thus, Thurston’s constitutional right was clearly established at the time of the shooting and the officers are not entitled to qualified immunity.

Comment: In this case, the officer’s got the occupants away from the house and then shot the dogs later. The dissent took this to mean that there was no way that the pet owners’ could contradict the police version of the events (whch was, predictably, that the dogs attacked them suddenly). However, the majority opinion was less trusting of the police and denied summary judgement (sj).

Written by Burgers Allday

January 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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