November 29, 2021

Supreme Court sides with law enforcement over qualified immunity cases

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that two police officers in separate cases should receive qualified immunity, protecting those involved from liability.

The ruling reversed lower court decisions that allowed rulings for excessive force against the officers to move forward. The two cases both involved responses to 911 emergency calls.

In one case, California officer Daniel Rivas-Villegas “responded to a report of a man threatening his girlfriend and her children with a chainsaw. The officer confronted the suspect, placing his knee on the suspect’s back for eight seconds while another officer placed the suspect under arrest,” according to Police1.com.

In an Oklahoma case, “officers with the Tahlequah police responded to a 911 call from a woman who said her ex-husband was intoxicated and refused to leave her garage,” The Hill reported.

“When officers arrived and approached the suspect inside the garage, he grabbed a hammer and lifted it overhead as if preparing to throw it or charge at the officers. When he refused to drop the hammer, two officers shot and killed him,” the report added.

Both cases have returned the discussion of qualified immunity to the news, noting the delicate balance between protecting police officers in the line of duty and opposing excessive force.

The cases come as a sign of support law enforcement that has endured much criticism over the last year.

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