Supreme Court Justices Strongly Object to SCOTUS Cop-Protecting Ruling

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By The Vanguard Staff

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson strongly objected to the decision by the court last week to not hear two cases testing the scope of a legal doctrine that shields police officers from being held liable when they kill someone on the job, according to Bloomberg Law.

Bloomberg wrote, “Sotomayor said she would have tossed out the Eighth Circuit’s decision and sent the case back to the appeals court ‘to resolve the question of qualified immunity without assuming that Gilbert’s final movements were those of a dangerously noncompliant person posing a threat, rather than of a dying man struggling to breathe while adequately restrained by handcuffs and leg shackles and surrounded by six officers in a secure cell.’”

Justices, in the first case, were “asked if St. Louis, Missouri police officers who held a homeless man in custody face-down on the floor and pushed into his back until he died are entitled to qualified immunity,” said Bloomberg

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit “ruled the city and police department couldn’t be held liable because Nicholas Gilbert didn’t have a clearly established right under the circumstances to be free of police force at the time of his death,” and Gilbert’s parents objected the court was wrong to rule being struggling to breathe meant “resistance,” according to the news coverage.

“In the other case the court rejected, the same appeals court said a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer was protected by qualified immunity despite fatally shooting in the back a man who was allegedly unarmed, non-violent, and surrendering peacefully to an arrest,” wrote Bloomberg.

The family of Ryan Stokes said the court “wrongly ruled that its precedent was not clear enough to establish that Officer William Thompson’s conduct was unconstitutional,” said Bloomberg.

The cases are Lombardo v. City of St. Louis, Mo., U.S., No. 22-510 and N. S. v. Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, U.S., No. 22-556.

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