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Sluman v. State

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3

May 22, 2018

THOMAS L. SLUMAN, a single person, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF WASHINGTON, by and through the WASHINGTON STATE PATROL; BART H. OLSON, individually and in his official capacity as a TROOPER of the WASHINGTON STATE PATROL; and JANE/JOHN DOE I-X, individually and as Employees/Agents of the WASHINGTON STATE PATROL and/or the STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondents.

          FEARING, J.

         In common parlance, a door check is an attachment used to close a door and prevent its slamming. In ice hockey, the term "check" or "checking" refers to a defensive move whereby the defenseman moves his body into an opposing player in order to disrupt the opponent's possession of the puck. This lawsuit gives rise to a new meaning to the expression "door check" or "door-check, " an import presumably derived from hockey.

          In this appeal, we address the tort liability of a law enforcement officer, to an injured motorcyclist, when the officer purposely opens his patrol car door so that the door strikes and stops the speeding cyclist. Law enforcement refers to the officer's tactic as door-checking. The defendant officer and other officers pursued the motorcyclist because of his speeding. In resolving the appeal, we ask whether some facts support a ruling that the law enforcement officer seized the motorcyclist within the meaning of the United States Constitution's Fourth Amendment, and, if so, whether the officer warrants qualified immunity from civil liability. We also ask whether the officer and his employer gain immunity from state law claims under Washington's felony bar statute. The trial court granted the officer and his employer summary judgment. We reverse.

         FACTS

         The statement of facts arises from deposition testimony and from affidavits in support of and in opposition to summary judgment motions filed by defendants State of Washington and Washington State Patrol Trooper Bart Olson. Because the trial court granted the motions and dismissed plaintiff and motorcyclist Thomas Sluman's claims, we view the facts in a light favorable to Sluman.

         On the sunny morning of Wednesday, July 21, 2010, Thomas Sluman, a Port Angeles denizen, rode his motorcycle eastbound on Interstate 90 in lower Kittitas County ten miles west of Ellensburg. On that same morning, Washington State Patrol Trooper John Montemayor piloted the aircraft "Smokey 6" and patrolled traffic from the craft. An aerial patrol officer employs a series of white stains, known as aerial traffic surveillance marks, painted on the road at half-mile intervals to measure the speed of vehicles. The officer gauges the speed of a vehicle with a stopwatch as the vehicle travels between marks. Trooper Montemayor, by using the surveillance marks, measured Sluman as traveling between seventy-six and eighty-nine miles per hour on the seventy miles per hour interstate. Montemayor radioed Trooper David Hinchliff, who patrolled on the ground, to stop and cite Sluman. Trooper Hinchliff's patrol car parked facing northbound on Thorp Highway near Interstate 90 exit 101, the location of Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall.

         Thomas Sluman left Interstate 90 at exit 101. Sluman stopped at the stop sign at the end of the off-ramp, activated his motorcycle's right turn signal, and turned right onto South Thorp Highway. According to Trooper David Hinchliff, Sluman did not turn his head to the left to see Trooper David Hinchliff's patrol car before Sluman turned right. According to Sluman, he looked to the left and saw the patrol car, but the car faced the opposite direction.

         South Thorp Highway mainly travels east and west, but south of Interstate 90. Trooper Hinchliff performed a U-turn on Thorp Highway, activated his overhead lights, and radioed dispatch to notify it that he would pursue Sluman. After radioing dispatch, Hinchliff activated his siren and chased Sluman on South Thorp Highway. Sluman never saw Hinchliff reverse directions in order to pursue him.

         Trooper David Hinchliff soon lost sight of Thomas Sluman because the two-lane South Thorp Highway frequently curves. From Interstate 90 exit 101, the highway runs five miles before it again crosses the interstate at exit 106, the western exit for Ellensburg. Trooper John Montemayor eyed Sluman from the air while maintaining contact with Hinchliff. From his vantage point, Trooper Montemayor estimated Sluman reached a speed over one hundred and twenty miles per hour. Sluman disputes this speed approximation because South Thorp Highway lacks aerial traffic surveillance marks, but Sluman does not testify as to his speed. While riding on Thorp Highway, Sluman obeyed all traffic laws except the speed limit. Sluman never looked behind him to see Trooper Hinchliff in pursuit. Hinchliff concluded that he did not need to pursue Sluman at a high rate of speed, since the air patrolman followed Sluman.

         Washington State Trooper Bart Olson also patrolled, in a Dodge Charger, along Interstate 90 near exit 101 on the morning of July 21, 2010. Trooper Olson had just completed a traffic stop, when he overheard Trooper David Hinchliff notify dispatch about Hinchliff's pursuit of Thomas Sluman. Olson unilaterally joined the pursuit by traveling eastbound on Interstate 90, not on South Thorp Highway.

         A Washington State Patrol regulation prohibits a trooper from unilaterally joining a suspect's pursuit. Troopers may join a pursuit only when requested by the first officer in pursuit or when directed by a supervising officer. The State Patrol adopted this regulation because pursuits pose as one of the riskiest actions that a law enforcement officer undertakes. Trooper Bart Olson denies that he pursued Thomas Sluman since Olson did not chase Sluman on South Thorp Highway. Nevertheless, State Patrol rules consider an officer as pursuing the suspect, even if the trooper does not chase the suspect from behind, if the trooper acts to intercept or stop the pursued driver.

         In his haste, Trooper Bart Olson passed another patrol officer, Trooper Paul Blume, on Interstate 90. Blume drove a sports utility vehicle (SUV). Trooper Olson then received instruction to end his pursuit since Trooper John Montemayor followed Thomas Sluman from the air. Olson ignored the instruction and proceeded to Interstate 90 exit 106 where Olson anticipated he could intercept Sluman on South Thorp Highway.

         After Olson exited Interstate 90, he turned right on South Thorp Highway and journeyed in the opposite direction of Sluman and Trooper David Hinchliff. Olson then saw Sluman's motorcycle rounding a corner in the oncoming lane. According to Olson, "nobody was in the area." Clerk's Papers (CP) at 535. Trooper Olson drove his patrol car across the centerline of the road, quickly braked, and parked his car, while straddling the center line, on a bridge across the Yakima River, with the car's emergency lights activated. Trooper Olson explained his intent:

And, anyway, the motorcyclist was coming at me. And I could see the speed of the motorcycle, which was at a high rate, rapidly slowing. . . . I'm going to place this person in custody or worst [sic]-you know, I'm going to place him in custody, do a felony-style stop, or they're going to be going slow enough that if it comes down to it I'm going to basically horse collar this person off the motorcycle and end this pursuit, so that they don't end up with serious injuries, kill themselves, kill an innocent party.

CP at 532. After Trooper Olson parked, Trooper Paul Blume pulled behind Trooper Olson's patrol car and blocked more of the road.

         The Washington State Patrol does not authorize a state trooper to tackle, horse collar, or otherwise physically remove a driver from a motorcycle. State Patrol personnel deem such a maneuver to be unwise and unsafe. State Patrol regulations do not permit a trooper to drive patrol cars into the lane of oncoming traffic or to park in the middle of the road. Under a State Patrol regulation, a roadblock occurs when officers position one or more vehicles or other obstructions across a roadway in order to prevent the escape of a fleeing vehicle. The regulation requires any roadblock to afford an "escape route" for the suspect. CP at 246, 662. State Patrol rules allow a roadblock only with supervisory approval and only when law enforcement seeks to apprehend the suspect for homicide, assault with intent to kill, rape, robbery in the first degree, or prison escape. Trooper Olson lacked supervisory approval for blocking the road and law enforcement did not pursue Thomas Sluman for any of the requisite crimes. Olson insists that he allowed space for Sluman to steer around his patrol car.

         According to Thomas Sluman, he traveled sixty miles an hour as he rounded a curve on South Thorp Highway into the straightaway across the Yakima River Bridge. Sluman applied his brakes because he saw lights and vehicles on the bridge. He did not know that one or more of the cars were police cars. He intended to stop near the cars. After he rounded the curve, he did not accelerate. Suddenly a sports utility vehicle entered his lane.

         As Trooper Bart Olson remained parked in the middle of South Thorp Highway, he observed Thomas Sluman's motorcycle rapidly slow. Sluman probably then traveled between thirty-one and thirty-seven miles per hour. As Sluman slowed, he steered his motorcycle to the right and away from the highway's centerline in order to pass Trooper Olson's vehicle. According to Trooper Paul Blume, Sluman appeared to be stopping his motorcycle. As Sluman attempted to pass, Olson opened his patrol car door into the oncoming lane where Sluman traveled. The parties refer to Olson's maneuver as "door-checking." In his investigation report, Olson did not volunteer that he purposely opened the door to cause the door to strike Sluman. Trooper Olson's open door struck Sluman's motorcycle and propelled Sluman over the Yakima River Bridge to the ground thirty feet below and into a campground. A video captured Sluman crossing the Yakima River Bridge, Olson opening his patrol car door, and Sluman driving by the side of the door.

         During a deposition, Thomas Sluman testified that he only remembered encountering a sports utility vehicle. According to Sluman, the SUV drove toward him in his lane and struck him.

         Washington State Patrol regulations consider intentional intervention to be the act of ramming or hitting another vehicle with a patrol car in order to damage or force another vehicle off the road. During discovery in this suit, State Patrol personnel confirmed that a trooper driving his car into the oncoming lane of traffic on a two-lane road with a suspect approaching constitutes the use of intentional intervention. The State Patrol equates intentional intervention with lethal force. Intentional intervention should only be used as a last resort to apprehend a suspect. Intentional intervention should also be used only when the officer knows or has reasonable grounds to believe the suspect committed or is attempting to commit a crime that poses a threat of death or serious bodily injury.

         A State Patrol regulation declares that intentional intervention "shall not be used to apprehend a traffic offender, misdemeanant, or fleeing felon whose only felony is attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle." CP at 662. The regulation further reads that an officer "attempting intentional intervention with a vehicle shall be held to the same standards as are applied to any other use of lethal force." CP at 662.

         When Thomas Sluman hit the ground, he lost consciousness. After Sluman regained cognizance, but before receiving treatment for his injuries, Trooper Bart Olson asked Sluman why he fled from the police. Sluman answered that he had outstanding arrest warrants. An audio recording captured Sluman's response. Sluman admits he uttered the response, but he denies his statement to be correct. According to Sluman, he had outstanding warrants but he did not flee the police pursuit particularly since he knew not of the pursuit. When responding to Bart Olson's question, Sluman lay on the ground in severe pain.

         As a result of the collision with the patrol car door and descent into the campground, Thomas Sluman sustained fractures of the tibia and fibula of his right leg, pubic bone, tailbone, and left elbow. The tibia and fibula breaks required multiple surgeries to implant and replace hardware and to graft skin and muscle. Sluman spent one year in a wheelchair while recovering. He suffered permanent physical impairments.

         Thomas Sluman later entered an Alford plea to charges of attempting to elude a police vehicle. According to Sluman, he entered the plea because he wanted to end the prosecution because he still recovered from injuries.

         PROCEDURE

         Thomas Sluman filed suit against Washington State Patrol Trooper Bart Olson and the State of Washington. Sluman asserted a federal cause of action for a civil rights violation and state law causes of action for false arrest, false imprisonment, negligence, gross negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent training and supervision. He asserted the latter claim only against the State. Sluman alleged that Trooper Olson at all times relevant to the suit acted within the scope of his employment with the State of Washington.

         In response to the civil rights cause of action, the State of Washington pled the defense of Eleventh Amendment immunity and Olson pled the defense of qualified immunity. Both the State and Olson raised the felony bar statute in defense of Thomas Sluman's state law claims. The State agreed in its answer that Trooper Bart Olson acted within the scope of his employment at all times.

         The State of Washington and Bart Olson moved for summary judgment. In response, Thomas Sluman agreed to dismissal of claims for false arrest and false imprisonment. The trial court granted summary judgment and dismissed all remaining claims.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Civil Rights Cause of Action

         Thomas Sluman asserts a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Washington and Trooper Bart Olson, and the trial court dismissed the claim against each defendant. Sluman only appeals the dismissal of the claim against Olson. Therefore, we do not address the merits of a civil rights claim against the State. The appeal of this dismissal centers on whether Trooper Olson seized Sluman and imposed excessive force within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment and whether Olson qualifies for qualified immunity under the federal civil rights statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         42 U.S.C. § 1983, an often employed, but rarely quoted, statute reads:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. . . .

         Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 104 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989). Section 1983 only fulfills the procedural or remedial role of authorizing the assertion of a claim for relief. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. at 393-94. The pleader must also allege an independent substantive basis for his claim, whether grounded in a federal constitutional or a statutory right. Nabozny v. NCS Pearson, Inc., 270 F.Supp.2d 1201, 1205 (D. Nev. 2003). Thomas Sluman contends Trooper Bart Olson employed excessive force when blocking the path of his motorcycle and thereby violated the United States Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

         42 U.S.C. § 1983 admits no immunities. The United States Supreme Court, however, has, based on common law and policy grounds, crafted immunities shielding government officials and employees from personal liability for damages. We will address available immunities later.

         Issue 1: Whether Thomas Sluman presents facts to establish that Washington State Trooper Bart Olson seized Sluman?

         Answer 1: Yes.

         We first address whether facts support a conclusion that Trooper Bart Olson infringed Thomas Sluman's Fourth Amendment rights. In doing so, we view the facts in the light most favorable to the party asserting the injury, Sluman. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201, 121 S.Ct. 2151, 150 L.Ed.2d 272 (2001). Since Sluman sues under the federal civil rights statute and since he relies on the United States Constitution, we examine only federal cases.

         The Fourth Amendment protects "[t]he right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." We first determine if Trooper Bart Olson seized Thomas Sluman and later decide whether the seizure was reasonable. Olson denies any seizure and characterizes his conduct as reasonable as a matter of law.

         Trooper Bart Olson impeded the travel of Thomas Sluman when Olson door-checked Sluman's motorcycle. Whenever an officer restrains the freedom of a person, he or she seizes that person for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 7, 105 S.Ct. 1694, 85 L.Ed.2d 1 (1985). Seizure occurs when the government official intentionally terminates a suspect's freedom of movement. Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U.S. 593, 597, 109 S.Ct. 1378, 103 L.Ed.2d 628 (1989).

         Brower v. County of Inyo informs our decision. William Brower died after the stolen car he drove at high speeds in an effort to elude pursuing police crashed into a police roadblock. The United States Supreme Court held that law enforcement seized Brower, within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, by placement of the roadblock. Contrary to the Court of Appeals' holding, the high Court explained that Brower's opportunities to stop the vehicle prior to impact did not preclude violation of the Fourth

         Amendment. The Court explicated:

[A] roadblock is not just a significant show of authority to induce a voluntary stop, but is designed to produce a stop by physical impact if voluntary compliance does not occur. It may well be that respondents here [law enforcement officers] preferred, and indeed earnestly hoped, that Brower would stop on his own, without striking the barrier, but we do not think it practicable to conduct such an inquiry into subjective intent. Nor do we think it possible, in determining whether there has been a seizure in a case such as this, to distinguish between a roadblock that is designed to give the oncoming driver the option of a voluntary stop (e.g., one at the end of a long straightaway), and a roadblock that is designed precisely to produce a collision (e.g., one located just around a bend). In determining whether the means that terminates the freedom of movement is the very means that the government intended we cannot draw too fine a line, or we will be driven to saying that one is not seized who has been stopped by the accidental discharge of a gun with which he was meant only to be bludgeoned, or by a bullet in the heart that was meant only for the leg. We think it enough for a seizure that a person be stopped by the very instrumentality set in motion or put in place in order to achieve that result. It was enough here, therefore, that, according to the allegations of the complaint, Brower was meant to be stopped by the physical obstacle of the roadblock-and that he was so stopped.

Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U.S. at 598-99 (internal citations omitted).

         In a footnote in his brief, Trooper Bart Olson denies that he established a roadblock. But he presents no argument or case law to the contrary. Looking at the facts in the light most favorable to Thomas Sluman and accepting his version of the facts, we conclude Trooper Olson orchestrated a roadblock.

         Trooper Bart Olson's own deposition testimony suggests he implemented a roadblock. Olson explained his intent for driving across the centerline of the road and parking in the middle of the bridge as placing Sluman in custody by stopping him or horse collaring him. Trooper Olson stationed his patrol car to achieve the result of stopping Sluman's travel. Olson's supervisor testified that Trooper Olson created a roadblock.

         Trooper Bart Olson highlights that a semi-tractor trailer could have squeezed on either side of his patrol car parked on the Yakima River Bridge. But this emphasis ignores important facts, including his own testimony that he opened his car door at the last moment in order to impede Thomas Sluman's progress. He intended a roadblock and effectuated this intent. Any opportunity by Sluman to steer clear of the door does not preclude application of the Fourth Amendment.

         We also do not consider the question of whether Trooper Bart Olson erected a roadblock as controlling. A Fourth Amendment seizure does not require use of a roadblock. For example, a police officer's fatal shooting of a fleeing suspect constitutes a Fourth Amendment seizure presumably because the death impedes the suspect's movement. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 7 (1985). Even assuming Olson employed no roadblock, he, like the officers in Brower v. County of Inyo and Tennessee v. Garner, employed means to stop the movement of Thomas Sluman.

         Issue 2: Whether Thomas Sluman presents facts of an unreasonable seizure?

         Answer 2: Yes.

         Seizure alone does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The amount of force used to effect the seizure must be unreasonable to amount to a constitutional violation. Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U.S. at 599 (1989). Courts analyze a claim of excessive force in the course of making a seizure of a person under the Fourth Amendment's "objective reasonableness" standard. Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 736, 131 S.Ct. 2074, 179 L.Ed.2d 1149 (2011); Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. at 388 (1989). In assessing the reasonableness of the manner of a seizure, courts balance the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual's liberty interest against the importance of the governmental interests alleged to justify the intrusion. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. at 396. Courts examine the government interest in safely effecting an arrest in light of the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he actively resists arrest or attempts to evade arrest by flight. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. at 396. Even when some force is justified, the amount actually used may be excessive. Santo v. Gates, 287 F.3d 846, 853 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Determining whether a police officer's use of force was reasonable or excessive requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case. Drummond ex rel. Drummond v. City of Anaheim, 343 F.3d 1052, 1056 (9th Cir. 2003). Because such balancing nearly always requires a jury to sift through disputed factual contentions to draw inferences therefrom and to assess credibility of witnesses, courts should grant summary judgment in excessive force cases sparingly. Santos v. Gates, 287 F.3d at 853; Liston v. County of Riverside, 120 F.3d 965, 976 n.10 (9th Cir. 1997).

          Courts judge the reasonableness of the force exacted by a law enforcement officer from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with hindsight. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. at 396-97 (1989). The calculus of reasonableness must recognize that police officers must often render split-second judgments, in tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving circumstances, about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. at 396-97.

         When determining if Trooper Bart Olson exercised unreasonable force, we must measure the amount of force employed by Olson. In this regard, Thomas Sluman contends that Olson exercised deadly force. Even when law enforcement does not intend to kill or does not kill, courts characterize the force employed as deadly if the force could cause death or serious injury. Drummond ex rel. Drummond v. City of Anaheim, 343 F.3d at 1056. "Deadly force" entails a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm. Robinette v. Barnes, 854 F.2d 909, 911-12 (6th Cir. 1988).

         Bart Olson used his car to impede Thomas Sluman's progress. In Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. 194, 200, 125 S.Ct. 596, 160 L.Ed.2d 583 (2004), the Supreme Court noted that a car can be a deadly weapon, although the Court deemed reasonable the officer's decision to stop the car from possibly injuring others. Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. at 200. We observe that Thomas Sluman rode a motorcycle, rather than drove an automobile. A law enforcement officer's use of a squad car to block a motorcycle's path constitutes deadly and unreasonable force. Walker v. Davis, 649 F.3d 502, 503-04 (6th Cir. 2011); Donovan v. City of Milwaukee, 17 F.3d 944, 949-50 (7th Cir. 1994).

         Washington State Patrol regulations confirm use of a patrol car to be lethal force. The regulations provide "intentional intervention . . . of a vehicle is the deliberate act of hitting another vehicle with a patrol vehicle(s) for the purpose of functionally damaging or forcing the other vehicle off the road." CP at 661. The State Patrol rules also declare that "intentional intervention is considered the use of lethal force . . . [and] officers attempting intentional intervention with a vehicle shall be held to the same standards as are applied to any other use of lethal force." CP at 661-62.

         We proceed on the assumption that Trooper Bart Olson's door-checking constituted deadly force. Although the seizure did not kill Thomas Sluman, the seizure imperiled Sluman's life and caused serious injury. Bart Olson denies that he exerted deadly force, but he provides no decision to support the denial.

         We must now address whether Thomas Sluman's conduct justified Trooper Bart Olson's exercise of deadly force. The balancing process applied in excessive force cases demonstrates that, notwithstanding probable cause to seize a suspect, an officer may not always do so by killing him. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 9 (1985). As a subset of excessive force claims, the United States Supreme Court has held that police use of "deadly force" violates the Fourth Amendment unless the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 11. The individual interests at stake rise to their zenith when law enforcement seizes a citizen by deadly force because of the fundamental interest in one's life. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 9. The use of deadly force by law enforcement against a suspect frustrates the interest of the individual, of society, and in the judicial determination of guilt and punishment. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 9.

         The peaceful submission of suspects holds no priority over the interest in life. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 9-10. Employing deadly force to vindicate our criminal justice system defeats its purpose since, if successful, that system will not be set in motion. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 10. Thus, the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 11. On the other hand, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or probable cause exists to believe that he committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, when feasible, some warning has been given. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 11-12. Under Thomas Sluman's version of the facts, he received no warning.

         Even under the State's version of the facts, Thomas Sluman did not commit a crime involving serious physical harm to another. Law enforcement sought to stop Sluman for speeding. Washington State Patrol officers did not even seek to capture Sluman because of a crime. Sluman was not armed. No officer knew that Sluman discerned he was being pursued. According to Trooper Paul Blume, Sluman never looked in his direction. Thus, no officer knew that Sluman sought to elude the police.

         Trooper Bart Olson asserts that he held a governmental interest in protecting the public from injury or death when stopping Thomas Sluman. Olson emphasizes that the motorcycle's high speed posed a risk to persons in the immediate area.

         Language in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985) disassembles Bart Olson's argument. In Garner, the Supreme Court noted, based on extensive research and consideration, that laws permitting police officers to use deadly force to apprehend unarmed, nonviolent fleeing felony suspects do not protect citizens or law enforcement officers, do not deter crime or alleviate problems caused by crime, and do not improve the crime fighting ability of law enforcement agencies. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. at 19. Thus, the government's interest in ending a high-speed chase of an unarmed perpetrator does not justify deadly force. Accordingly, the Fourth Amendment's right to be free from ...


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