Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a police officer used “reasonable force” when he rammed a teenager’s car during a high-speed chase in Georgia. Victor Harris was left a quadriplegic.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his opinion that “The car chase that [Harris] initiated in this case posed substantial and immediate risk of serious physical injury to others. [Deputy Timothy] Scott’s attempt to terminate the chase by forcing [Harris] off the road was reasonable.”
Most of the Supreme Court justices viewed a videotape of the six-minute chase, taken from the dashboard of the officer’s vehicle. Justice Scalia said the chase resembled a “Hollywood-style car chase of the most frightening sort.”
After refusing to pull over, Harris led police on a chase at speeds over 100 mph. He was shown, at one point, pulling into a shopping center parking lot, with Officer Scott and two colleagues trying to block him. After Harris crashed into Scott’s car, Scott requested permission to use potentially deadly force to stop him. Scott was given permission to use a “precision intervention technique” to make Harris spin out. Scott, however, rammed Harris’ car, causing the vehicle to become airborne.
Justice Scalia concluded that no reasonable jury could find that the car chase initiated by Harris did not pose a substantial and immediate risk of serious physical injury to others and that Scott’s attempt to terminate the chase by forcing Harris off the road was reasonable. He, therefore, ruled that Harris could not sue the Scott for his injuries.