WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court won't reconsider a jury's decision that an off-duty Seattle police officer who was cut off in traffic violated a man's rights by detaining him at gunpoint.
The high court Monday refused to hear an appeal from officer Jonathan Chin, who was in plainclothes as he held at gunpoint three men who allegedly cut him off in traffic and ran a red light. One of the men eventually was tackled, subdued and restrained by several officers, sustaining a head abrasion that cost him $3,500 in medical bills.
A jury cleared Chin of allegations that police used excessive force, but found the detention went on too long, violating civil rights. Chin argued that he had immunity but courts have ruled against him.
Justices refused to hear his appeal.
Statement from Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes:
“It is very difficult to obtain review from the U.S. Supreme Court. The jury awarded no damages to the plaintiff for police actions in this case involving reckless and drunk driving, a serious and growing public safety problem. But the law enforcement issues--proper application of qualified immunity and the ability of police officers to protect themselves in dangerous encounters--remain critically important to the City of Seattle and the many Ninth Circuit jurisdictions that joined our petition, including the states of Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and the Territory of Guam. We will continue to seek clarity in the application of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence to better guide law enforcement officers in furtherance of public safety.”