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National Police Association asks U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of Schenectady, NY PD detective in justified shooting

On June 13, 2016, undercover detectives were approached by a subject unrelated to their investigation. They saw a gun in his belt and identified themselves as police. the object, Joshua Scism, a registered sex offender with multiple prior arrests, including weapons and drug charges, got hold of a gun in his belt. Detective Ferris shot and fatally wounded Scism. Scism’s weapon has been recovered. Schenectady, NY cleared Detective Ferris of any wrongdoing. The Scism domain, however, claimed that the Scism weapon did not exist and filed a lawsuit. The District Court and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit let the prosecution against Detective Ferris continue.

NPA spokesman, Staff Sgt. Betsy Brantner-Smith (Ret.) said: “Adverse decisions in litigation cases can have negative consequences far beyond the named parties. As such, the National Police Association, a non-profit education/training organization defense, seek cases that portend the most potential damage to all law enforcement should the lose and enter the case as a friend of the court to assist law enforcement.”

Here, the Second Circuit, like the District Court before it, did not understand several sighting facts as undisputed when they clearly were. Namely, that Mr. Scism, the deceased, defied the detective’s directive and instead placed his hand on a semi-automatic handgun in his belt in full view of the detective seconds before the detective fired his own gun.

These facts are essential in determining whether the petitioner has committed a constitutional violation. Lower courts have increasingly tended to overlook the totality perspective in conducting a Fourth Amendment use-of-force analysis. This failure completely undermines the point of deference to a profession where mortal danger is a common occurrence.

Given this state of affairs, the Court should take up this case. Not only does the Court’s precedent require it, but strong scientific evidence supports the existence of a standard of deference for the women and men who protect the citizens of the Nation on a daily basis.

The National Police Association is represented by Robert S. Lafferrande of Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green, LLP, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The deal is Brett Ferris vs. the estate of Joshua Scism, no. 21-2622 before the Supreme Court of the United States. The NPA’s amicus brief can be read here: pdf

About the National Police Association
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SOURCE National Police Association