No qualified immunity for officers who shot a man trying to kill himself

Officers received a call about a man who was trying to kill himself by slitting his wrist with a knife. When four officers confronted the bleeding man, he held a knife up to his neck as if to kill himself. From a distance of 30 feet away, two of the officers shot the man, killing him.

In today's decision in Studdard v. Shepherd, the Sixth Circuit describes the legal question raised by the officers' unusual mental-health intervention rather dryly: "May police officers shoot an uncooperative individual when he presents an immediate risk to himself but not to others?" The court easily answers in the negative, and thus affirms the district court's denial of qualified immunity. So let this be a lesson to officers everywhere: do not fatally shoot someone to stop him from killing himself.


Popular Posts