Brosseau v. Haugen

In Brosseau v. Haugen, U.S. 125 S.Ct. 596, 599, 160 L.Ed.2d 583 (2004), the police officer was faced with the situation of "whether to shoot a disturbed felon, set on avoiding capture through vehicular flight, when persons in the immediate area are at risk from that flight." Id. at 600. The Court cited three cases, including one from this court, which reached different conclusions on whether a police officer in such a situation would be justified in using deadly force. As a result, the Court held that a reasonable officer who fully understood Garner's general constitutional command nevertheless would not know whether the use of deadly force was permissible in that situation. Because a reasonable officer at that time would not have had fair warning that his conduct violated the Fourth Amendment, the Court held that the law was not clearly established and therefore, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity. Id. In Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. 194 , 198 (2004), the Court extracted a general principle from existing law at that time that there is generally no Fourth Amendment violation when an officer shot a fleeing suspect who presented a risk to others. Id. at 200. The Court concluded that in some circumstances it may be reasonable to use deadly force to stop an otherwise unarmed suspect fleeing in a car. The Court held that there was no clearly established violation of the Fourth Amendment where the officer reasonably believed the moving vehicle posed a threat of danger to police or others.