Police Officers' Suing The DOJ For Violating Their 'Right' To Deploy Force Without Restrictions Shot Down By Federal Judge
from the internal-eyerolls-omitted dept
The 125 members of the Seattle Police Department who sued the Dept. of Justice for violating their "right" to deploy force on their own terms (in order to "make it through work safely") have received their answer from a federal district court judge. In short, the response is, "You're wrong," along with the addedum, "and please stop asking."
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by more than 100 Seattle police officers who said new guidelines on using force jeopardized their safety.The crowdfunded lawsuit sloppily rewrote the Second Amendment as a "right" to self-defense. Any restrictions on use of force infringed on this imaginary "right." Not only did the Dept. of Justice's remedies -- prompted by years of excessive force deployment and biased policing -- somehow violate these officers' rights, but they apparently also granted "criminals" (which basically means anyone who isn't a cop in this context) extra rights.
The officers' arguments were unsupported by the Constitution or case law, Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said in an opinion issued Monday.
The officers who signed on to the lawsuit, without the support of the police guild, objected, saying the policy elevates the rights of criminal suspects over those of police.And they weren't too happy with the additional oversight, either.
They argued that Merrick Bobb, the court-appointed monitor overseeing the reforms, refused input from the police department in the drafting of the new policy, and that it violates their constitutional right to defend themselves.As to the creative interpretation of the Second Amendment, Judge Pechman had this to say [pdf link]:
Plaintiffs can point to no case establishing that the Second Amendment codified a free-standing right to self-defense, as opposed to case law interpreting the textual Second Amendment rights to “keep and bear arms” in light of their purposes (which the Supreme Court has held include the facilitation of self-defense)...The officers' other complaints were similarly dismissed.
In the criminal context, the Ninth Circuit rejected the idea that recent Supreme Court cases confirmed a Second Amendment right to use a weapon in any particular way: “[N]either [Heller nor McDonald] concerned the use of a weapon, as distinct from mere possession. . . .” United States v. Morsette, 622 F.3d 1200, 1202 (9th Cir. 2010). Similarly, nothing in the Supreme Court’s recent Second Amendment jurisprudence lends support to Plaintiffs’ novel theory that a police department policy outlining expectations for an officer’s use of force can burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment.
Instead, the Supreme Court has been clear that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 626. Plaintiffs selectively quote historical sources cited in Heller to suggest that so long as self-defense is a purpose for the individual claiming a Second Amendment right, the Second Amendment forbids “unreasonable” restrictions on the manner a weapon is used.
Here, the Policy represents an effort by an employer, the Seattle Police Department, to regulate the use not only of (employer-issued) weapons but of the force its employees are specially sanctioned to wield on behalf of the city government. This scenario has no relation to the Second Amendment guarantees for individuals recognized in Heller, McDonald, and Peruta.
Nor did she agree with the officers' insistence that the policy violated a "right of self-defense as embedded in the Fourth Amendment," which protects against unreasonable search and seizures. Pechman said the argument grossly misconstrued Fourth Amendment law.As the Fourth Amendment argument went (which is "terribly"), so did the officers' arguments claiming violations of due process and equal protection.
In a rather amusing and slightly ironic turn of events, the officers' complaints about the court-appointed monitor (Merrick Bobb) were rebuffed by every bad cop's best friend:
Because Defendant Bobb exercised discretion in resolving a dispute at the request of a district judge, he is entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity from suit and the charges against him must be dismissed.Pechman further points out that not liking a monitor's determinations isn't the same thing as them being "unjust" or "one-sided."
The suit has been dismissed with prejudice, meaning the 125 officers who filed a suit so baseless even the local police union wouldn't offer its support will now have to return to work and follow the same rules as the rest of their fellow officers. I suppose it's a good thing this case wasn't dragged out any longer than the past five months, considering its legal warchest crowdfunding effort stalled out slightly past the $3,000 mark.