Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Police can shoot at you for shining a flashlight at them

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Case:  Blair v. City of Dallas, Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit 2016

What happened:

On the evening of October 2, 2013, Aquino and Cantu were patrolling a Dallas neighborhood, mainly looking for criminal activity related to prostitution. The officers were shining a spotlight on the street and sidewalks while driving through the area. Blair was outside his apartment complex talking on his cell phone when the officers passed. When the officers shined the spotlight on Blair, he told the officers to get the light out of his eyes. The officers reversed the car and asked Blair to repeat what he had said. Blair again told the officers to get the light out of his eyes.

After this exchange, Blair went into his apartment. Blair’s girlfriend, Cynthia Oliver, and their three-year-old son, D.O., were inside the apartment as well. The officers did not attempt to communicate with Blair at all as he went inside. Instead, the officers exited their patrol car, unholstered their weapons, and approached the apartment complex. The front door of Blair’s apartment faced the wall of a neighboring church. As the officers entered the area between the apartment complex and the church, Blair opened the screen door to his apartment and attempted to step outside. Blair was holding a flashlight that had a handle resembling a pistol grip. The officers saw a bright light. They then fired multiple shots at Blair. Blair closed the screen door and was not hit by the officers’ gunfire, but Blair, Oliver, and D.O. contend that they were fearful for their lives during the incident.

Plaintiffs Blair, Oliver, and D.O. filed the present action in district court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that Aquino and Cantu violated their Fourth Amendment rights by subjecting them to excessive force and wrongful detention.

Decision: Fifth Circuit panel thought that this police shooting was fine and dandy.

Comment: Wow. Just wow.

Written by Burgers Allday

November 20, 2016 at 5:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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