Supreme Court backs Arizona policeman accused of excessive force

The Supreme Court declined on Monday to revive a lawsuit brought by 11 American families against the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization

The court issued its decision at a time of intense focus on the issue of police use of force arising from a series of incidents around the country including shootings by officers of unarmed suspects.

Today's ruling does not mean Kisela is off the legal hook in the civil suit filed by Hughes who, according to her attorney, suffered permanent injuries and has ongoing pain as well as emotional distress. "But the federal courts can not exercise jurisdiction in a civil case beyond the limits prescribed by the due process clause of the Constitution, no matter how horrendous the underlying attacks or morally compelling the plaintiff's claims".

Officers were called to Hughes' house in May 2010 following a report that someone was hacking at a tree with a knife. He then stuffed her body head-first in a plastic trash can, and put the trash can in the backseat of his Cadillac Escalade, testimony showed.

Chadwick said in an affidavit that prior to the shooting, Hughes had threatened to kill Chadwick's dog Bunny with a knife over a $20 magazine subscription. They arrived and saw Hughes holding a knife.

Chadwick said Hughes had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was taking medication, and that she sometimes acted inappropriately but was never actually violent.


"Kisela had mere seconds to assess the potential danger to Chadwick", the justices wrote in the unsigned order.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for herself and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the court, at least at the pretrial stage, has to look at the record in a way that would favor the ability of Hughes to take the case to trial. Chadwick went outside to her vehicle to retrieve money from her purse when Hughes followed her outside, still holding the knife, according to court records.

Hughes didn't comply with commands from officers to drop the knife and continued to move toward her roommate.

The decision sends the wrong signal to police, Sotomayor wrote.

Prosecutors said Katherine was trying to hide in a small space between a wall and a dryer in a laundry room when Russell chased her down, pressed a gun to the back of her head, and killed her.

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