Deputy who runs down and kills fleeing motorcylcist is denied immunity
A recent case from the Western District of Kentucky helps to illustrate the limits of individual immunity from 42 USC 1983 civil liability for using execessive force in making an arrest. Thomas Germany was clocked traveling 70 mph in a 55 mph zone on his motorcycle. When a deputy sheriff activated his lights, Germany briefly attempted to elude and drove his motorcycle off the road and into an open field. A pursuing deputy, Danny Davis, intentionally rammed the cycle, dragging Germany to his death. The entire chase lasted less than 5 minutes and Germany never exceeded 60 miles per hour. Under the circumstances, the Sixth Circuit held that Davis had used excessive force to effect the arrest of a motorist who posed no immediate threat to the officer or anyone else, thus violating the 4th Amendment. Germany's Estate sued on behalf of his minor son and the appellate judges upheld the lower court's refusal to grant immunity to Davis.