Police Chase Opinion Issued by SCOTUS

Some people have found a way to turn a police chase case into a Sec. 1983 action.  It was always tough – and it just got tougher.

Here is the issue as stated by Justice Scalia:  "We consider whether a law enforcement official can, consistent with the Fourth Amendment, attempt to stop a fleeing motorist from continuing his public-endangering flight by ramming the motorist’s car from behind. Put another way: Can an officer take actions that place afleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death in order to stop the motorist’s flight from endangering the lives of innocent bystanders?"

The bottom line:  "The car chase that respondent initiated in this case posed a substantial and immediate risk of serious physical injury to others; no reasonable jury could conclude otherwise. [Officer] Scott’s attempt to terminate the chase by forcing respondent off the road was reasonable, and Scott is entitled to summary judgment."

The case is Scott v. Harris,   No. 05–1631  (April 30, 2007).   Read the opinion here.