Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Chriswell v. O’BRIEN, Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit 2014

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O’Brien also contends that no “clearly established” principle of law prevents an officer from using all the force necessary to obtain “unquestioned command over the situation” (his phrase). If that were right, however, an officer could shoot in the back an unarmed suspect fleeing on foot to avoid arrest for a non-violent misdemeanor, such as failure to pay parking tickets. The Supreme Court held otherwise in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). It has long been clearly established that an officer’s use of force is limited to what is reasonable under the circumstances; that forecloses O’Brien’s contention that the officer can use as much force as he deems necessary to obtain “unquestioned command over the situation.” On Chriswell’s allegations, which we must accept for current purposes, no physical force at all was reasonable (O’Brien had not even asked her to get out of the car) and O’Brien’s acts violated clearly established rules.

Written by Burgers Allday

September 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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