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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 6/18/2001 7:19:56 AM EST
LA Times http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010618/tCB00V5152.html Monday, June 18, 2001 Court Upholds Police Use of Force Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON--A police officer acted reasonably when he pushed a demonstrator into a van while protecting the vice president, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. The ruling made it more difficult to get lawsuits against officers before a jury. The court was asked to decide when officers making an arrest deserved "qualified immunity" from lawsuits. The protester was not injured. In a split decision, eight justices agreed with the overall result. Justice David Souter concurred in part and dissented in part. The case arose from an incident during a speech by then-Vice President Al Gore in San Francisco in 1994. The majority opinion, by Justice Anthony Kennedy, said a reasonable officer, hurrying the protester away from the fence separating the public from Gore, "was within the bounds of appropriate police responses." Animal-rights activist Elliot Katz was arrested by military police during a Gore speech that marked the conversion of the Presidio Army base in San Francisco into a national park. The protester was unfurling a 4 -by-3 -foot banner reading, "Please Keep Animal torture Out of Our National Parks." Katz filed suit, contending that one of the military policemen who arrested him, Donald Saucier, used excessive force by violently throwing him into a van. Katz said the officer violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, although the demonstrator was later released without charges. A federal trial judge and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided a jury should hear Katz' argument. They said Saucier was not entitled to "qualified immunity" from being sued. In reversing the 9th Circuit, the court said the military policeman "did not know the full extent of the threat" or "how many other persons there might be" who could have posed a threat to the vice president. The officer "was required to recognize the necessity to protect the vice president by securing respondent and restoring order to the scene." Therefore, Kennedy said, the case should have been dismissed at an early stage in the proceedings. The appeals court had said the test for deciding whether such claims can go to trial is whether the force used during an arrest was reasonable, the same test that a jury later would use in deciding the case on its merits. Justice Department lawyers said the appeals court "has effectively held that, in cases like this, officers are prohibited from using any force at all to make an arrest." Kennedy emphasized in the ruling that Katz was not injured in the arrest. The government lawyers said qualified immunity is intended to protect officers from being sued unless they are "plainly incompetent" or knowingly violate the law. Courts generally should defer to the "split-second decisions" by officers on the street, Justice Department lawyers said. The case is Saucier v. Katz, 99 -1977. - - - On the Net: Appeals court ruling: http://www.uscourts.gov/links.html and click on 9th Circuit. Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourtus.gov Presidio: http://www.nps.gov/prsf/ Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times
Link Posted: 6/18/2001 7:34:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/19/2001 2:25:24 AM EST by OLY-M4gery]
Yeah, Katz is a wealthy whiney guy. He was pushed into the van so hard he almost tripped it was they said. He was contending that the MP's didn't have the right to remove him from a military base (closed to the public) when he exercised his free speech rights. He was "arrested" put in the van and driven off base. He claimed that they could not use "force" against him if they didn't intend to criminally prosecute him. The force against him was having a hand placed on his arm and being hancuffed. EDIT: FYI this story is also on the ABC news site. It also mentions that this "arrest" was flimed by a news crew.
Link Posted: 6/18/2001 10:12:05 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/18/2001 10:34:30 AM EST
Raf: Yeah, 27 of the last 28 cases that were appealed were overturned by the Supreme Court. They're the bastard red-headed step child of the judicial world. Kharn
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