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  • Officer Forthman pulled over Donald Rickard for an inoperable headlight and noticed damage to his vehicle. When asked to step out of the vehicle, Rickard sped away. 
  • Plumhoff v. Rickard
  • The policeman received orders to surround the car in a parking lot. Once surrounded, Rickard tried to flee the scene resulting in an officer shooting and killing him and the passenger, Kelley Allen.
  • Rickard and Allen's families sued the officers, chief of police, and the mayor of West Memphis. They said the police used excessive force and that force violated the Fourth Amendment. 
  • The government said that the officers had acted in their official capacity, so they were entitled to either absolute or qualified immunity from any lawsuit. The district court refused to dismiss the case, so it went to the U. S. Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court. 
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Declaring qualified immunity gives immunity to the suit, therefore it can not be reviewed after a final judgement. The evidence showed that Rickard was trying to flee and would have been a danger to public safety, so the amount of shots that the officers used did not qualify as excessive force. They were justified to shoot until the threat of public safety had ended. 
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