• May 1st 2007 at 1:31PM
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Common sense dictates that if you run from the police, it will end badly. In our oft-litigious society, suing as a means to evade responsibility is a popular option. In 2001, 19-year-old Victor Harris engaged Coweta County deputy sheriff Timothy Scott in a dangerous chase on rain-slicked roads. To end the chase, deputy Scott rammed Harris's car, which then crashed down an embankment. Mr. Harris was left a quadriplegic from the injuries sustained in the wreck, and subsequently sued on the contention that the sheriff used unreasonable deadly force.
The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled 8-1 against Harris's claim. Lower courts had ruled in favor of Harris, but the Supreme Court overturned that opinion. The reasoning for the decision was that while police chases are dangerous, doing away with them ensures perpetrators a means of escape by merely driving erratically at high speed. Either way, there'll still be someone running from police, endangering other innocent bystanders. While the outcome of Mr. Harris's chase is tragic, it doesn't change the fact that instead of stopping and accepting a citation for travelling 73 mph in a 55 zone, he chose to run. It's terrible that someone so young will have to live out the rest of his days with paralysis, but that could have been prevented by a more thorough examination of the consequences at the time he attempted to evade the law. The most damning bit of evidence was the video of the chase, which shows how reckless Mr. Harris really was, and likely led to the near-unanimous decision from the court.

[Source: NYTimes]

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