The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in Scott v. Harris, 05-1631, where the court must decide whether a police officer violated a fleeing suspect's constitutional rights by using deadly force when he bumped his police car into the suspect's car to end a high speed chase. Victor Harris was pursued by Coweta County, Georgia police when he refused to pull over while speeding. Video taken from the dashboard of the police car showed the ensuing collision, which resulted in Harris' paralysis and eventual suit against former sheriff's deputy Timothy Smith for violation of the Fourth Amendment. The US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Scott's qualified immunity claim under the Fourth Amendment was an insufficient defense because he acted unreasonably. The accident video was not played in court, but at least half of the bench appeared to have seen the footage; Justices Breyer and Kennedy each implied the video evidenced that contrary to the appeals court holding Harris was driving erratically. The Court is expected to rule by July.
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