The US Supreme Court Justices ruled on the case brought before it by a Tucson, Arizona woman named Sharon Chadwick who was shot by a police officer when she was holding a knife and posed no threat whatsoever to either the police officer or anyone.
The dissenting opinion came from Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing that the Court’s “decision is not just wrong on the law; it also sends an alarming signal to law enforcement officers and the public,…It tells officers that they can shoot first and think later, and it tells the public that palpably unreasonable conduct will go unpunished.”
The majority did not decide whether Officer Kisela’s actions violated the Constitution, but it did say there was no clear precedent that would have alerted him that opening fire in what he said was an effort to protect Ms. Chadwick amounted to unconstitutionally excessive force.
In the dissent, Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the majority’s reasoning was perplexing. “Hughes was nowhere near the officers, had committed no illegal act, was suspected of no crime, and did not raise the knife in the direction of Chadwick or anyone else,” Justice Sotomayor wrote, adding that only one officer had opened fire. “Kisela alone resorted to deadly force in this case,” she wrote. “Confronted with the same circumstances as Kisela, neither of his fellow officers took that drastic measure.”
Justice Sotomayor said a jury should have been allowed to decide the case. “Because Kisela plainly lacked any legitimate interest justifying the use of deadly force against a woman who posed no objective threat of harm to officers or others, had committed no crime, and appeared calm and collected during the police encounter,” Justice Sotomayor wrote, “he was not entitled to qualified immunity.”
Justice Sotomayor said the court’s decision in the case, Kisela v. Hughes, No. 17-467, was part of a disturbing trend of “unflinching willingness” to protect police officers accused of using excessive force. The court’s decisions concerning qualified immunity, she wrote, “transforms the doctrine into an absolute shield for law enforcement officers…Because there is nothing right or just under the law about this,” she wrote, “I respectfully dissent.”
So what you’re looking at here is the Supreme Court saying that because the policeman didn’t know the law, he couldn’t be expected to obey that law. This is blatantly a violation of the doctrine of ‘ignorance of the law isn’t excuse for breaking the law’ that lawyers and judges always preach to us laymen.
But I am not surprised at all in the least bit. The American Supreme Court is an organ of White Supremacy and they are protecting the main organ of enforcing white supremacy in America: the police force. The ease with which they decided this case against the woman who was easily a victim of excess and unqualified and unwarranted force indicates that the Supreme Court saw no reason whatsoever to even appear to be defending the civilian in this case.
The shield that Justice Sotomayor mentioned is the same shield that protects Police officers from prosecution every day in America where the yearly average is police officers shooting and killing unarmed citizens about 3 times a day. These killings mostly go unpunished because local law end all close ranks and rally behind the officer in question. When something like this happen, the Police department acting as a blue wall often does not even offer a semblance of neutral as they all fully come to the defense of their brother or sister at arms.
But that shield often extends to the district attorneys and state prosecutors who are supposed to look out for the safety and interests of the citizenry. But in these cases, they all gang up and take the side of the officer in these shootings. Protecting the officer comes first often in these cases. And the citizen is often the last thing these entrenched institutions worry about. The Supreme Court Justices just re-echoed that which most minority victims of police violence in America already know: that the system protects itself and that these institutions all act to reinforce the operation of White Supremacy in America. If a Supreme Court of experienced judges and experts of the constitution can, without much argument, decide that because an officer didn’t know the law, he can’t be expected to respect it, what do we hope for in the judicial system? It sends the message to persons appearing before the law that you’re at the mercy of the system and you’re not entitled to constitutional protections you thought you were. Your safety is at the discretion of the officer and if the officer in question happens to be a KKK member (look up the FBI report in 2006 that the organization had systematically infiltrated the US police force), and you’re a minority in America, the Supreme Court offers you no protection. You’re on your own.