Because we find no violation of a clearly established right, we need not reach the other qualified immunity question of whether a constitutional violation occurred in the first place.
That’s the money quote. But let me tell you what it is in reference to.
From the “Factual Background” of this ruling we learn that
- Cops were after a perp.
- Perp entered someone else’s property.
- Cops followed.
- Cops put one adult and six children — all innocent bystanders, as the Court notes — on the ground at gunpoint, and cuffed the adult bystander for no reason.
- Perp was in custody.
- Dog came out, and was in no way perceived as a threat; not even by the cops.
- So one cop — Coffee County Deputy Michael Vickers — shot at the dog, and missed.
- Dog hid under the house.
- Dog came back out, and still everyone agrees it was not a threat.
- So Coffee County Deputy Michael Vickers shot at the dog again. And missed again.
- Excuse me; he missed the dog. He shot a ten year-old boy, who was only 18 inches away from him.
You might think that using unnecessary force would taint the cop’s defense. You might think that negligently shooting a kid just inches away from him would be a bad thing. You could even wonder about the Coffee County Sheriffs Office marksmanship training. No prob, says the 11th Circuit.
We don’t even have to worry about any of that because shooting innocent children is “no violation of a clearly established right.” Qualified Immunity!
Well now. That certainly clears the way for post-birth abortions.
If you must be in Coffee County, Georgia, be on the lookout for this psychopath.
Reportedly, Vickers has an extensive history of violating rights um… excessive force ah… acting firmly and shooting at dogs. Protect yourself appropriately.
Cops and courts really need to consider the ramifications of their acts should hunting season ensue.