Supreme Court Protects
Police in Car-Chase Suit
April 30, 2007 11:11 a.m.
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday gave police
protection from lawsuits that result from high-speed car
against a Georgia teenager who was paralyzed after his car
was run off
In a case that turned on a video of the chase in suburban
Justice Antonin Scalia said law-enforcement officers do not
have to call
off pursuit of a fleeing motorist when they reasonably expect
people could be hurt.
Rather, officers can take measures to stop the car without
themselves at risk of civil rights lawsuits.
"A police officer's attempt to
terminate a dangerous high-speed car
chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does
the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing
motorist at risk
of serious injury or death," Justice Scalia said.
The court sided 8-1 with former Coweta County sheriff's
Scott, who rammed a fleeing black Cadillac on a two-lane,
road in March 2001.
Victor Harris, the 19-year-old driver of the Cadillac,
lost control and
his car ended up at the bottom of an embankment. Mr. Harris,
sued Mr. Scott.
Lower federal courts ruled the lawsuit could proceed, but
Court said Monday that it could not. Justice John Paul