Police Officer Back

Torres v. Madrid

Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: October 3, 2019

What's at Stake

Whether the Fourth Amendment applies to a police officer’s intentional use of physical force against a fleeing person, if that use of force does not succeed in terminating her movement.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that police officers shooting a fleeing person is not a “seizure” of the person — and therefore does not implicate the Fourth Amendment in any way — unless the officers’ bullets not only hit her, but succeed in terminating her movement. The ACLU’s amicus brief argues that the Tenth Circuit’s rule is inconsistent with Supreme Court jurisprudence on the definition of a “seizure” as well as basic Fourth Amendment principles. The ACLU’s brief also explains how the Tenth Circuit’s rule creates a dangerous gap in accountability with significant real-world consequences.

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