Court of Appeals Rules on Police Officer Immunity
The year 2015 will be remembered for the many protests and incidences of violence that have erupted in conjunction and response to police violence. Whether justified or not, video of police violence against citizens has led to a social phenomenon where people take to the streets and protest what they view as overreach and violations of rights.
In addition to protests, some victims of police violence have taken their cases to the courts for recovery. These types of cases are notoriously difficult to win because of the immunity that police officers enjoy in doing their work. But sometimes a case will appear for which the courts will deny immunity protection and allow a personal injury claim against a police officer to proceed. This is what recently happened in a11th Circuit Court of Appeals case.
Facts of the Case
A claim was brought by a man who was arrested by the police in Florida in 2009.As reported by the court’s opinion, the police responded to help local authorities capture several pit bulls that were loose in a neighborhood. When the police arrived at the scene, they observed the dog owners arguing with a neighbor about how the dogs got loose.
During the course of the argument, one of the police officers drew his taser and shot the man who eventually brought a claim. Then, as the case reports, when the man recovered from that taser shot the police officer shot him again. The man was was charged with several charges, but they were all dropped after being investigated by the prosecutor.
After the charges were dropped, the man who was shot by a taser sued the police officer based on the personal injuries that he suffered as a result. The man argued that the police officer was not justified in using excessive force when he was compliant with what the police told him to do. In response, the police officer argued that he was protected by Florida law under the immunity provisions of underFlorida Statute § 768.28(9)(a).
Court Allows Suit
The court did not agree with the police officer, however. Official immunity only protects police officers when they are acting in the scope of their work. But when a police officer crosses the line of official duty and acts in a way that violates clearly established statutory or constitutional right, they are subject to a lawsuit. The court in this case decided that there was enough evidence to allow a jury to decide whether the police officer should be held liable for the injuries caused on that night
When it comes to the rights of victims of personal injury,The Pittman Firm is ready and able to defend those rights. Our practice is dedicated to acting on behalf of victims to ensure that they recover for their injuries, pain, and suffering. Whether you have been injured in a car accident, through medical malpractice at the hands of a doctor, or by a defective product, we want to be your partner.Contact us so we can go over your case with you and provide you with the legal counsel your case deserves.