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Each time a suspect encounters a police officer he has two choices. He can peacefully submit and cooperate or resist. If he does the first he is guaranteed a safe encounter. If he does the second he is setting into motion a wildly unpredictable event that could lead to his demise. The choice is his to make. The police officer can only react.


Case Law 4 Cops contains information on hundreds of court cases. These cases are important to officers and citizens alike. The cases cover what officers can and cannot do in several areas of law. Follow the links below.

New Cases

Use of Force involving Flash-Bangs-

United States v. Myers, 106 F.3d 936 (10th Cir. 1997)-Officers used a flash-bang during the execution of a search warrant at Myer's residence. Myers had a history of drug trafficking, fire-bombing, and possession of a firearm. Myer's wife and children were in the home. The court held that the use of the flash-bang was reasonable under the circumstances. The court did have concern about using the flash-bang with children in the home.

Boyd v. Benton County, 374 F.3d 773 (9th Cir. 2004)-It is not reasonable to use a flash-bang device under the Fourth Amendment by throwing it blindly into a room occupied by several innocent sleeping bystanders absent a strong governmental interest. In this case officers threw a flash-bang device in a room where Boyd was sleeping on the floor. The device went off next to her burning her arm.

Before deploying a flash-bang, the officer needs to-

1. Weigh the severity of the threat.

2. Look at the deployment area to minimize injury.

3. Give a warning where possible.


US v. Phillips, 14-14660 (11Cir 2016)-A writ of bodily attachment for unpaid child support is a warrant for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Police can arrest on a civil warrant and can conduct a search incident to arrest.


Rucinski v. County of Oakland, No. 15-1844 (6th Cir. 2016)-Rucinski was mentally ill. He pulled a knife on his girlfriend and demanded cigarettes. She told him where they were. He left the room to get them. She retreated to a bathroom and called the sheriff's department. Deputies responded and found Rucinski in the garage. He removed a switchblade knife from his point and opened it. He said, "Bring it on" and approached Deputy McCann. She pointed her gun at him, backed up, and repeatedly told Rucinski to drop the knife. McCann backed up until she reached the driveway which was iced over. She could not safely retreat onto it. When Rucinski got to within 5ft of her, she fired her gun the same time another deputy fired a taser. Rucinski was killed. Rucinski's family sued for Excessive Use of Force. The family also claimed that the officers either provoked the confrontation or created the cirmcumstances by poor planning that led to the shooting of Rucinski.

The court held: The deputies’ alleged bad tactics are not relevant to the question of whether their decision to use force was intentional. The use of force was reasonable and the deputies are entitled to qualified immunity.

San Francisco v. Sheehan, No. 13-1412 (SCOTUS 2015)-Sheehan was living in a group home. She was mentally ill and threatened the life of her social worker. Police were called to detain her and have her evaluated at a mental facility. They arrived and entered her room. She threatened the officers with a knife. They backed out and shut her door. The officers were concerned about what she was doing in her room. She could be arming herself with other weapons or be trying to escape. The officers re-entered. Sheehan threatened the officers with the knife. She was pepper sprayed with no effect. The officers shot her multiple times. She lived and sued the officers. She claimed that the officers violated their training and did not give her reasonable accommodation for her mental illness. San Francisco trains its officers when dealing with the mentally ill to “ensure that sufficient resources are brought to the scene,” “contain the subject” and “respect the suspect’s “comfort zone,” “use time to their advantage,” and “employ non-threatening verbal communication and open-ended questions to facilitate the subject’s participation in communication.” A hostage negotiator is also supposed to be used. The officers disregarded all of this and acted on their own. The Court held that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. It did not matter that they violated their


Police Questioning

Miranda Warning
Undercover Officer

Search & Seizure