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Plumhoff v. Rickard

United States Supreme Court
134 S.Ct. 2012 (2014)


Facts

Police pulled over Donald Rickard and his passenger, Kelly Allen, citing a faulty headlight. Police noticed an indentation the size of a head in the windshield and asked Rickard to step out of the car. Instead, Rickard drove off, leading police on a high-speed chase at over 100 miles an hour for some five minutes. Rickard wove around other vehicles, forcing some to veer out of his path. When a police cruiser cut him off, Rickard came to a near standstill against the cruiser, floored the accelerator, spun his tires, and rocked the car back and forth, then slammed it into reverse to escape. Police fired 15 shots into the car, killing Rickard and Allen. Rickard’s daughter, Whitne Rickard (plaintiff), sued the officers, the mayor, and the police chief (defendants) for violating Rickard’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The officers requested summary judgment on immunity grounds and asserted deadly force was not excessive under the circumstances. The district court denied summary judgment, and the appellate court affirmed. The officers appealed to the Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

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