May 1st, 2007

Common Sense – on the other side of the Pond

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

In a case dated 30th April 2007 the United States Supreme Court has reversed a decision by the Appeal Court which judged a police officer guilty of excessive force when he terminated a police pursuit by nudging a fleeing car off the road. The car crashed, overturned and rendered the driver a quadraplegic. The Driver, Harris, won his case against the Georgia county deputy.

In the decision, which will be seen by many law enforcement supporters worldwide as sensible & just, the Supreme Court judged that the owness of the consequences to fleeing the police must be placed sqaurely on the person fleeing and not on the police. It further stated that by simply ending the chase by calling the officers off would not necessarily end the danger and that the police had every right and duty to bring the pursuit to an end by using tactics which may place the fleeing driver in danger himself. It has enshrined in case law the right of the police not to call off a pursuit simple because the driver of the fleeing vehicle drives too dangerously citing the right of other users of the road to safety regardless of whether the vehicle is being followed by police or not, with the assertion that just because the police may stop pursuing it does not follow that the fleeing driver will drive more sensibly.

The above case is surely a victory for law enforcement and acknowledges what I have believed that it is the toerag who flees who should be held responsible for the consequences of a pursuit and not the people who are trying to bring it to an end.

I doubt we will see such a case in the UK, however.

You can read the 28 page pdf file on the court’s ruling here: Scott -v- Harris

You can download the police in-car footage from the perspective of two police cars here: Police Video it’s a 15min long, 95mb realplayer file

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  1. Paul says:

    I think all this dates back to an unfortunate Brit-Asian copper who was killed chasing a perp. over some rooves ; the roof gave way under him, he fell through and was killed. Very unfortunate.

    The H&S Nazis went after the Met full bore ; a sensible approach would be ; it’s very sad that that cop died, but it was an accident, it wasn’t really anyone’s fault, and basically sh1t happens sometimes.

    This last clause is the whole problem with H&S. Sometimes sh1t happens. People die or are hurt. It’s “foreseeable” but only retrospectively. The current state is that if it was at all *POSSIBLE* to foresee it then it is *YOUR* fault. Which is madness.

    Now we now get **** risk assessments every time we have stand up to get something out of a filing cabinet. So no-one does anything.

    May 1st, 2007 at 11:57

  2. Emma says:

    I totally agree, should he have been allowed to continue he could have killed or injured an innocent member of the public.

    When he started the pursuit it was the risk he took surely.

    Good reading by the way..


    May 1st, 2007 at 15:12

  3. James says:

    I don’t know what the guy in the bandit car was being pursued for, but in the pursuing officer’s position I would have saved the board of enquiry a lot of time and paperwork with a length of rope and a sturdy tree branch.

    May 20th, 2007 at 08:10

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