On Monday, the Supreme Court voted to make a police officer immune from being sued for shooting an Arizona woman as she stood in her front yard.
After the 7-2 vote, the court threw out the lawsuit by a Tuscon woman who was shot 4 times by the officer because she had a knife while on her own property. She did not threaten anyone with the knife, she simply had it in her hand, reported The NY Times.
The 2 justices that voted to support people’s rights were Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They said the victim did not threaten the police or a friend who was standing nearby.
Sotomayer points out that this decision will encourage even more police shootings and killings.
This “decision is not just wrong on the law; it also sends an alarming signal to law enforcement officers and the public. It tells officers that they can shoot first and think later.”
The ruling is from a 2010 incident when police were called to the home of Amy Hughes, the victim, because of a call reporting that she was hacking at a tree with the knife.
When officers showed up, officer Andrew Kisela ordered her to drop the knife, and when she did not comply, he shot her 4 times – in the stomach, hip, arm, and knee.
The officer claimed he shot her because he thought she was a threat to her roommate, who was standing nearby. Sotomayer pointed out that the knife was being held down at her side and there was no reason for the officer to believe anyone was being threatened and she called the trigger happy cop’s reaction “unreasonable.”
Sotomayer went on to describe the Supreme Court decision to support unwarranted police shootings as symptomatic of a disturbing trend.
An attorney representing Hughes, David Shapiro, said the ruling was, “a disappointing outcome with troubling implications for police accountability.”