Plumhoff v. Rickard, 572 U.S. __, 134 S. Ct. 2012 (May. 27, 2014)

Officers did not use excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment when using deadly force to end a high speed car chase. The chase ended when officers shot and killed the fleeing driver. The driver’s daughter filed a § 1983 action, alleging that the officers used excessive force in terminating the chase in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Given the circumstances of the chase—among other things, speeds in excess of 100 mph when other cars were on the road—the Court found it “beyond serious dispute that [the driver’s] flight posed a grave public safety risk, and . . . the police acted reasonably in using deadly force to end that risk.” Slip Op. at 11. The Court went on to reject the respondent’s contention that, even if the use of deadly force was permissible, the officers acted unreasonably in firing a total of 15 shots, stating: “It stands to reason that, if police officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, the officers need not stop shooting until the threat has ended.” Id.