Posted: Nov 04, 2015 12:52 PM CST
Updated: Nov 04, 2015 1:58 PM CST
Posted by Audra Levy,
Digital Content Director
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) – Attorneys for the Evansville Police Department are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court’s ruling regarding a lawsuit over a SWAT raid.
In August, a federal appeals court said Evansville Police can’t be shielded from liability because they made "too many mistakes."
A lawsuit was filed against the department after the EPD SWAT team tossed flash grenades into Louise Milan’s home on Powell Avenue in June 2012. Officers were responding to a threat against police, but later found out the threat came from the cell phone of a man using an IP address inside Milan’s home.
Attorneys for EPD filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court on Thursday. It means that the department wants the high court to take a look at the appeals court ruling. Specifically, as summarized on page 3 of the Petition:
“The Seventh Circuit held that the Officers’ use of force was not reasonable as a matter of law because the EPD’s investigation was premature. The Officers believe the Seventh Circuit committed clear error by failing to consider the factors informing 4th Amendment analysis and second guessing the Officer’s actions to ensure their safety in executing a lawful warrant under potentially dangerous and uncertain circumstances. The Officers also believe the Seventh Circuit erred in denying qualified immunity on the basis that the use of the flash bangs violated a constitutional right that was clearly established. The Seventh Circuit’s two sentence analysis applied a mechanical bright line test which mandated that the Officers’ use of force was unreasonable because they failed to carry a fire extinguisher into a situation which they believed was dangerous and potentially involved a gun fight. As set forth below, Petitioners contend the Seventh Circuit committed clear error in its qualified immunity analysis.”
The Plaintiff’s response to the Petition is due on December 2.
If the Petition is granted, a hearing will take place before the Supreme Court. If denied, the District Court will hold a trial on the Plaintiff’s claim of excessive force and the Officers’ defense of qualified immunity.