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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