TCAA, in conjunction with the Texas Municipal League, files amicus briefs and comments in support of cities on many issues. To keep up to date on the status of these issues, go to http://www.tml.org/p/amicus_51015.pdf.
Qualified Immunity: Mullenix v. Luna, No. 14-1143 in the Supreme Court of the United States. This case concerns a shooting by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper. A fleeing suspect had threatened to kill any police officer he came in contact with, and the trooper attempted to shoot the suspect’s engine and disable the vehicle from a highway overpass. Instead, the trooper accidentally shot and killed the suspect. The court of appeals held that the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity because his actions were objectively unreasonable. The Texas Municipal League, Texas City Attorneys Association, and Texas Association of Counties argued that a suspect’s overt threats to shoot and kill officers during a high-speed pursuit represent one of the most grave risks law enforcement officials can face. The court of appeal’s opinion does not hold true to precedent and profoundly impacts thousands who put their lives on the line daily. Under the circumstances, the officer’s conduct was reasonable, and the fact that traffic was “light” in the court’s view, and that the trooper did not first attempt “alternative” or “non-lethal” methods, i.e., road spikes, to potentially stop the speeding car before firing at his engine, did not change that fact. The brief was field April 20, 2015.