Tough on chiefs

The balancing act that police chiefs face, always tough, has become even more difficult in the current climate, as reported here. Impossible demands and unrealistic expectations can imperil even the most experienced and reform-minded chiefs. One observer notes “progressive cities are relentlessly unforgiving to progressive chiefs” and another comments “It’s hard to know what success will look like for today’s police chief.” Reflecting on the Atlanta chief’s resignation just hours after an officer shot and killed a suspect, a local journalist wrote “Sadly, it’s the unforgiving environment we’re in. Atlanta is losing a calming police chief who has been implementing the very reforms protesters are rightfully demanding of police departments throughout America.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Tough on chiefs”

  1. globaltel Says:

    The problem is that the Court has taken an inappropriately narrow view of what it means for a constitutional violation to be “clearly established.” Essentially, a constitutional violation is clear only if a court in the relevant jurisdiction has previously concluded that very similar police conduct occurring under very similar circumstances was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has, for example, applied qualified immunity in a case where an officer standing on an interstate overpass shot at a fleeing vehicle, something that not only contravenes best practices, but that the officer was not trained to do, a supervisor had explicitly instructed him not to do, and was unnecessary because officers under the overpass had set up stop strips and then taken appropriate cover. Nevertheless, because no court had previously reviewed such conduct and found it to be unconstitutional, the Court held that any violation was not clearly established and, thus, that the officer could not be sued for his actions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: