AGC has secured summary judgment on behalf of the Chico Police Department against claims of excessive force arising out of a vehicle pursuit. Members of the Department attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The driver failed to stop and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, the suspect exceeded the posted speed limit, drove on the wrong side of the road, ran numerous stop signs, and eventually crashed into a utility pole. As one officer approached the suspect's vehicle, the driver reversed away from the pole and began to accelerate toward the officer. Fearing serious injury or death if struck by the vehicle, he fired at the suspect. The suspect then proceeded to make a sweeping U-turn, rapidly accelerated in the direction of the additional patrol officers that had responded to the scene, narrowly missed hitting those officers, and collided with two patrol units. Fearing for their personal safety and/or the safety of the other officers present, various officers fired at the suspect as she accelerated toward them. The suspect, who was shot twice during the incident, ultimately died from her wounds. A subsequent toxicology report indicated that the suspect had methamphetamine and amphetamine in her system at the time of the incident.
In bringing the Motion for Summary Judgment, AGC Partner Sharon Medellín argued that the officers' conduct in shooting the suspect was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment due to the threat posed by the suspect's use of her vehicle as a deadly weapon. Ms. Medellín also argued that there was no substantive due process violation during the incident because the officers did not act with a purpose to harm unrelated to legitimate law enforcement objectives. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California agreed and entered judgment in the City's favor.
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Ms. Medellin routinely represents municipal entities and law enforcement officers in civil rights actions. Ms. Medellin can be reached at (562) 699-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.