police4aqi

Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Justice delayed is justice denied: The Raymond S. Bunn / Corey Ward story

with one comment

In the interest of having and keeping readers, I will keep this background briefer than I would really like to. Back in 2002, an Atlanta police officer named Raymond Bunn jumped in front of an SUV, gun drawn, as the SUV was driving out of the parking lot. The driver of the SUV was Corey Ward. Corey Ward continued to drive forward. It is not known whether Corey Ward recognized Raymond Bunn as a police officer, or, alternatively, whether he thought he was being car-jacked. Raymond Bunn got out of the SUV’s path (it was travelling at a relatively low rate of speed at the time it passed by Bunn) and Bunn shot Ward to death at close range, as I recall, through the driver’s side window rather than the windshield. After the shooting, Bunn told an implausible story about how he had to shoot because his knee was pinned between Ward’s SUV and another vehicle as Ward drove past. At first it looked like Bunn would be tried criminally for the shooting. However, after years of what appeared (to me at least) to be procedural funny business in the courts, the criminal case against Bunn was dismissed by a judge, without having a jury trial.

This was one of those cases that really sparked my interest in police dishonesty and accountability for police dishonesty. I have not given all the details here, but this, more than any other case, is the one that convinced me that the criminal courts are not generally an appropriate venue for dealing with police dishonesty. I do believe that civil courts can and will make meaningful strides against police dishonesty, especially as technology improves. Against that backdrop, and a dozen years after Bunn killed Ward, we have a small interim victory in the civil suit that Ward’s estate brought against Bunn.

Case: Arnold v. Bunn, Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit 2014

Quote:

Bunn was beside the SUV at the time of the shooting, the vehicle was not being driven at a high rate of speed, was not accelerating or heading toward any person either prior to or during the shooting, and was not being used as a deadly weapon. . . . An objectively reasonable officer would not have used deadly force under these circumstances, and therefore Bunn’s actions violated Ward’s clearly established Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force.

Comment: Why do I think that this case is primarily about police dishonesty, rather than police use of force? Because I have believed, for a dozen years now, that Officer Raymond S. Bunn lied about fearing for his safety and his life. I don’t just believe that the shooting was objectively unreasonable, but, rather, that Officer Bunn (still an APD officer apparently) subjectively knew in his heart that he was not in danger of being run over during the confrontation that he, himself, decided to have with Corey Ward’s SUV.

Written by Burgers Allday

May 17, 2014 at 8:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. The Ward family was finally awarded a small settlement of $200,000 after 12 years. But good for them for not giving up the fight against this severe injustice.

    Nick

    September 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm


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