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Old 04-30-2007, 11:08 PM   #1
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070430/...olice_chase_dc

Court rules police can't be sued in high-speed chase By James Vicini
Mon Apr 30, 2:59 PM ET



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a police officer cannot be held liable for ramming a fleeing car during a high-speed chase, forcing the vehicle off the road and resulting in severe injury or even death for the driver.

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By an 8-1 vote, the high court ruled the officer's conduct reasonable because the car chase initiated by the suspect posed a substantial and immediate risk of serious physical injury to others.

Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority that an officer's attempt to end a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatened the lives of innocent bystanders did not violate the Constitution, even if it placed the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death.

He said a police video of the incident "resembles a Hollywood-style car chase of the most frightening sort."

The Supreme Court took the unusual step of putting the video on its Web site, along with the ruling in the case involving a sheriff's deputy from Coweta County in Georgia. (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinio...t_v_harris.rmv b).

Scalia said the video contradicted the suspect's version of events that pedestrians or other motorists faced little or no threat during the chase.

VIDEOTAPE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF

The video showed the car "racing down narrow, two-lane roads in the dead of night at speeds that are shockingly fast," Scalia said. "We are happy to allow the videotape to speak for itself."

The ruling occurred at a time of increased national debate about high-speech police chases, which have resulted in more than 350 deaths annually in recent years.

The incident began at 10:45 p.m. on March 29, 2001, when a sheriff's deputy clocked Victor Harris driving 73 mph (117 kph) in a 55 mph (88 mph) zone.

When the officer gave chase, Harris speeded up, going at least 90 mph (144 kph) at times, running two red lights and passing other cars while weaving through traffic on the two-lane road.

A second officer, Timothy Scott, rammed the rear of the speeding Cadillac, causing Harris to lose control of the car and go down an embankment. Harris, who was 19 at the time, was paralyzed by injuries he suffered in the crash.

The chase covered about nine miles and lasted six minutes.

The U.S. Justice Department supported Scott and said his use of force was "reasonable" and did not violate any clearly established right. The American Civil Liberties Union supported Harris and said the case should be allowed to proceed to trial.

Harris sued Scott for violating his constitutional rights by using excessive force during the chase. A federal judge and a U.S. appeals court ruled that Scott could be held liable.

The high court overturned the lower court's decision.

Scalia said Harris intentionally placed himself and the public in danger by unlawfully engaging in reckless, high-speed flight.

He rejected the argument by lawyers for Harris that safety could have been assured if the police had simply ceased their pursuit.

Of the nine Supreme Court members, only Justice John Paul Stevens dissented. He said less drastic measures, like using a device to flatten Harris' tires slowly, could have avoided "such a tragic result" that made Harris a quadriplegic.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:20 PM   #2
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Now, how long until a cop hits a bike for running?
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:26 PM   #3
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that is good but bad at the same time... its good for the person being chased and bad for the innocent people:eh:
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:37 PM   #4
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Better question: how long before a cop hits a bike saying he was running when they really were not. I had a cop acuse me of running at a steady pace of 85 and he got all upset because I didnt pull over right away (on the shoulder). I never pullover on the shoulder of a freeway and if possible I find a well lit area. I put on my signal light to indicate I plan to comply, slow down, and take the nearest exit.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:38 PM   #5
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just makes the chase shorter. simple really.
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Old 05-01-2007, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
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just makes the chase shorter. simple really.
And it let's a cop hit you (possibly kill you) then say that you were running from him. You can't tell your side of the story when you're dead.

*Disclaimer:
Yes I know all cops are not like this. No need for a big long thread about it.
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Old 05-01-2007, 08:58 AM   #7
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how long before they hit a biker? the very same day the law passes.
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:16 AM   #8
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Geezus... cops aren't the 'bad guys' just because they come after you for breaking the law... It’s their job. If you choose to run from them, you choose to accept the potential consequences, one of which is death. Cops must make snap decisions in attempt to protect innocent bystanders from law-breakers actions. Running from the cops usually creates a situation worse than the initial crime; however, it is not at the fault of the cop – it is the law-break who chose to escalate the situation.

Are there bad cops? Of course… But how about asking the question, "How long before people on sport bikes stop running from the law when they know they've been caught speeding?" It is called personal responsibility - why people think they can break the law without consequence if they are caught doing so, I will never understand.

And I am no stranger to breaking laws about speeding. I just would never run from a cop who happened to catch me in the act. If you’re busted, you’re busted…
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kozmic
Geezus... cops aren't the 'bad guys' just because they come after you for breaking the law... It’s their job. If you choose to run from them, you choose to accept the potential consequences, one of which is death. Cops must make snap decisions in attempt to protect innocent bystanders from law-breakers actions. Running from the cops usually creates a situation worse than the initial crime; however, it is not at the fault of the cop – it is the law-break who chose to escalate the situation.

Are there bad cops? Of course… But how about asking the question, "How long before people on sport bikes stop running from the law when they know they've been caught speeding?" It is called personal responsibility - why people think they can break the law without consequence if they are caught doing so, I will never understand.

And I am no stranger to breaking laws about speeding. I just would never run from a cop who happened to catch me in the act. If you’re busted, you’re busted…
you quite obviously have not been stopped by the police and then accused of running when you clearly were not and had no intentions of running. I think you're missing the point of what has been said.
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
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you quite obviously have not been stopped by the police and then accused of running when you clearly were not and had no intentions of running. I think you're missing the point of what has been said.
Missing what point? This thread is about a person who was indeed running and sued the cop for apprehending him. I am very proud of our Supreme Court to see through the bullsh!t of the suit and back up the cop in this case.

If you have a single one-off situation that occurred the other way, that sux and I am sorry, but your situation is in no way the ‘norm’ and does not mean that cops will feel like they have an open invitation to kill people with their cars because of this ruling, as some have suggested here.
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Missing what point? This thread is about a person who was indeed running and sued the cop for apprehending him. I am very proud of our Supreme Court to see through the bullsh!t of the suit and back up the cop in this case.

If you have a single one-off situation that occurred the other way, that sux and I am sorry, but your situation is in no way the ‘norm’ and does not mean that cops will feel like they have an open invitation to kill people with their cars because of this ruling, as some have suggested here.
here let me clear my stance up for ya....

I say, if you are actually evading the police....get ready to get your rammed, 'cause if I was a cop I'd ram your too!! I think it's fair game. You're right, if you're running you are the one breaking the law. I think maybe I misunderstood your post, it sounded like you were dismissing the fact that bikers are often wrongly accused of running ('cause so many of them do, no I'm not one of them) and that was a concern on here. Not that we'd get hit when trying to run, but worried we'd get hit and then accused of running. See what I mean? (sorry 'bout any confusion)
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:47 AM   #12
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hahahhahaha my post says "get ready to get your rammed!!!!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA that's pretty funny!
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:14 AM   #13
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hahahhahaha my post says "get ready to get your rammed!!!!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA that's pretty funny!


:icon_bigg
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:15 AM   #14
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hahahhahaha my post says "get ready to get your rammed!!!!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA that's pretty funny!
haha
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Now, how long until a cop hits a bike for running?

Its already been done. I seen a dash cam vid of it. The cop ran the guy into the guard rail.
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:22 AM   #16
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Its already been done. I seen a dash cam vid of it. The cop ran the guy into the guard rail.
Figures.

I got pulled over for my license plate a couple months ago. I though he was gonna rear-end me .... and I was pulling over!! Turn signal, hand signal, ..... I even stuck my leg out so he'd KNOW that I was pulling over. Still right on my tail.
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:27 AM   #17
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Figures.

I got pulled over for my license plate a couple months ago. I though he was gonna rear-end me .... and I was pulling over!! Turn signal, hand signal, ..... I even stuck my leg out so he'd KNOW that I was pulling over. Still right on my tail.
I believe 'getting on your tail' must be some part of procedure, becuase any time I have been pulled over (4 or 2 wheels) the cop has always gotten right on my tail and stayed there until I stopped. Potentially your cop had never rode a bike and didn't understand how uncomforable that can be on a bike? Or maybe he was just a d!ckhead?
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:34 AM   #18
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How's this ... comply with the law. Don't give the cops a reason to pull you over, and certainly don't give them a reason to chase you down as well.
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kozmic
I believe 'getting on your tail' must be some part of procedure, becuase any time I have been pulled over (4 or 2 wheels) the cop has always gotten right on my tail and stayed there until I stopped. Potentially your cop had never rode a bike and didn't understand how uncomforable that can be on a bike? Or maybe he was just a d!ckhead?
^
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:39 AM   #20
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they may do it to make sure they have a clear video of your liscence plate if you so decide to run. i think alot of cops have a video that turns on as soon as the lights come on.
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