As lawyer-journalist Kathryn Rubino reports at Abovethelaw.com, SCOTUS denied certiorari to the case concerning Houston police officer Chris Thompson and Richard Salazar-Limon.
Essentially the 2010 case involves the allegation that Thompson shot unarmed Salazar-Limon with no provocation. As s result of the wounding, the suspect became a cripple.
In that decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented. She was joined by Justice Ruth Baker.
Among other things, Sotomayor pointed out that the lower court decisions were essentially based on a he said/he said. The high court had an opportunity to correct a possible error. But it chose not to even take a good look.
She argued that SCOTUS tends to accept cases in which lower courts failed to protect police officers' right to qualified immunity when force had been used. However, she states, "But we rarely intervene where courts wrongly afford officers the benefit of qualified immunity in these same cases."
If you grew up poor and a minority in America, like I had, you directly observed brutal treatment of alleged criminals by law enforcement. That was then, I had thought.
When recently living for 27 months in southwestern Arizona, including touring towns on the Mexican border, I witnessed what I perceived as the rough treatment of suspects. Since I didn't know the backstory, I had no opinion about the matter. I still don't. But I have become anxious about ever getting into that kind of context myself.
Perhaps sophisticated cops and legal television dramas should do more objective scripting about how the police respond to allegedly threatening situations. Maybe the suspects aren't always the bad guys.
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