In 2019, 83-year-old Elise Brown, a petite woman standing at just over 5 feet and weighing 117 pounds, found herself at the center of a troubling incident when Chino, #California #police pulled her over, suspecting her blue #Oldsmobile was stolen, a misconception later proven false. Following their protocol, the officers drew their handguns, handcuffed Brown, and compelled her to kneel.
This year, a federal appeals court allowed Brown to pursue a lawsuit against the police for excessive force, rejecting the commonly invoked qualified immunity that shields officers from #civilrights violation liability in numerous situations. The Supreme Court's recent decision upheld this lower court ruling, allowing Brown's lawsuit to proceed.
Amidst a national reckoning with fatal police encounters, the Supreme Court has typically been hesitant to entertain lawsuits challenging the legal immunity granted to officers. Police advocates argue that immunity is crucial for officers faced with split-second decisions and the need to defend themselves.
The #Chino Police Department officers involved in Brown's case contended they were adhering to protocols for high-risk traffic stops involving potentially stolen vehicles. They asserted that Brown, who was required to kneel for a brief period and was in handcuffs for about three minutes, showed no signs of needing special accommodation due to health or frailty.
Brown initiated the lawsuit in 2020, alleging that the police subjected her to excessive force and unreasonable detention. Her legal representative emphasized the trauma she experienced, deeming the officers' conduct as not only unreasonable but also dangerously inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on excessive force.
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Link: USA Today