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U.S. Supreme Court widens Ability to sue Police Officers for Excessive Force

by | Mar 25, 2021 | Firm News



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Today, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of a woman suing police officers for excessive force after they shot her while executing an arrest warrant. The case, Torres v. Madrid, arose after police officers in New Mexico attempted to arrested Torres pursuant to a warrant while she was in her car. Believing that the officers were carjackers, Torres fled, and was shot twice by the police. She then drove herself to the hospital but was later arrested.

Lower courts dismissed Torres’ case on the grounds that she could not sue for excessive force during a seizure (an arrest or investigative stop), because she fled the scene and was not immediately arrested. However, the Supreme Court reversed, and held that the application of physical force to a person to restrain them, such as firing a gun, constitutes a “seizure” for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment even if the person whom the force is used against flees and is not immediately arrested. So, the Court reinstated Torres’ case.

To read the full text of the Court’s opinion, click here.