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POLICE OFFICER LIABILITY IN PURSUIT OF OFFENDERS Police officers are called to task on many situations that arise within the scope of the responsibilities of their sworn duties One of these commonly and legally recognized duties is for police officers to stop and apprehend offenders who may flee such an attempted apprehension when the officer has reason to believe an offender may be attempting to resist apprehension thru flight on foot or in a motor vehicle When flight is made by means of a motor vehicle this pursuit often takes place at high speeds in a wide range of areas usually placing not only the offender at risk but also the police officers who are called upon to apprehend the suspect who has engaged the officer into doing so In a landmark case Lewis v Sacramento County 98 F 3d 434 436 CA9 1996 No 96-1337 Two teenagers on a motorcycle were the subjects of a high-speed pursuit by a county sheriffs deputy The chase ended when the motorcycle went over a crest in the road and came to a halt The deputy saw the motorcycle as he came over the crest of the hill but was unable to stop his vehicle One of the teenagers was struck at a speed of approximately 40 miles per hour resulting in his death The motorcycle driver suffered no major injuries The parents of the deceased teenager filed suit against the county the county sheriffs department and the sheriffs deputy alleging deprivation of their sons 14th Amendment due process rights in violation of section 1983 of the federal civil rights statute The district court ruled in favor of the county the sheriffs department and the deputy on the civil rights claims The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district courts judgment in favor of the county and the sheriffs department but held that the deputy sheriff is not
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