The Supreme Court today gave police officers protection from lawsuits that result from high-speed car chases, reports the Associated Press. An 8-to-1 decision ruled against a Georgia teenager who was paralyzed after his car was run off the road. In a case based on a video of the chase in suburban Atlanta, Justice Antonin Scalia said law enforcement officers do not have to call off pursuit of a fleeing motorist when they reasonably expect that other people could be hurt.
“A police officer’s attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death,” Scalia said. The decision sided with former Coweta County sheriff’s deputy Timothy Scott, who rammed a fleeing car on a two-lane, rain-slicked road in 2001. Justice John Paul Stevens dissented.