The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the “eligibility immunity” case

The “qualified immunity” that protects police officers from certain lawsuits is under increasing scrutiny.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to file a lawsuit on whether it would be easier to hold municipalities responsible for civil rights violations committed by its police, dismissing an appeal involving a man who was fatally shot by a policeman in Ohio.

The mother of a 23-year-old man of Luke Stewart, a Chief Justice, filed an appeal. The court rejected the appeal. The decision dismissed her lawsuit in a civil rights lawsuit against Euclid under federal law, and An officer involved. 2017 event.

The officer who shot Stewart at close range, Matthew Rhodes (Matthew Rhodes) called Qualified immunity, Even if the lower court ruled that the jury might find him illegally using excessive force.

Mary Stewart was standing in the driveway. This was the last time she saw her son Luke Stewart. He was killed by police in Cleveland, Ohio, USA [File: Megan Jelinger/Reuters]

The lawsuit filed by Mary Stewart accuses Rhodes and another official of using excessive force and violating the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable body searches and confiscations. The lawsuit also accused Euclid police of unconstitutional acts, especially unconstitutional acts against blacks. Her son is Black. The officer is white.

Qualified immunity can protect police officers and other types of government officials from civil litigation under certain circumstances, allowing litigation only when an individual’s “clearly established” statutory or constitutional rights have been violated.

Recent survey Has shown how to Supreme Court, Federal lower courts are increasingly granting qualified immunities to police accused of excessive force, even if they have determined that the police officer has taken illegal actions.

Stewart had been sleeping in his car when the police arrived. When Stewart tried to drive away, Rhodes got into the car. Rod punched Stewart, shocked, then hit him with Taser, and finally shot Stewart in the chest and neck with a gun.

Disturbing news about the Euclid Police Department appeared in the lawsuit, such as training materials, which included an illustration of a riot officer attacking a person lying on the ground, with the caption: “Protect and serve you Poo”.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati, Ohio ruled in 2020 that although the jury could find that Rhodes used excessive lethal force, the official was shielded by qualified immunity because no previous case had “clearly determined” this. a little. The behavior is illegal.

Luke Stewart’s grave in Cleveland, Ohio [File: Megan Jelinger/Reuters]

The appellate court called the training materials “annoying” and “inappropriate,” but it rejected the city’s request, saying that the municipality might not be held liable if the officials’ violations were not clearly identified.

Last year, after many cities in the United States protested against racism and police protests against the death of a black man named George Floyd, qualified immunity received increasing attention. A white officer named Minneapolis knelt on his neck for nine minutes.

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed policing reform legislation in March, depriving officers of eligible immunities. The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, and the Republicans oppose the rule and others.

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