The Supreme Court says that a police-inflicted death penalty for someone who leads police on a high-speed chase is justified. It was a unanimous decision. It’s the law in many cases that police can use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect , but that’s usually limited to someone who has committed a forcible felony. Pennsylvania’s law, for instance, is the following:
However, he is justified in using deadly force only when he believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or such other person, or when he believes both that:
(i)Â Â such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape; and
(ii)Â Â the person to be arrested has committed or attempted a forcible felony or is attempting to escape and possesses a deadly weapon, or otherwise indicates that he will endanger human life or inflict serious bodily injury unless arrested without delay.
You can read more about the case over at Scotusblog. What concerns me is that the high speed chase started when the driver gotÂ pulled over for a broken headlight. This wasn’t the case of a fleeing and dangerous felon. The passenger in the car was killed as well, but her claims weren’t at issue in this case; the Court only ruled about whether the driver’s rights were violated. I would hope the passenger would have a claim.