The United States Supreme Court is being asked to shield Sonoma County, CA, Deputy Erick Gelhaus from being sued by the parents of Andy Lopez, the 13-year-old boy who in October of 2013 was carrying a pellet gun that closely resembled an AK-47 when Gelhaus fatally shot him.
The Los Angeles Times reports that several California law enforcement groups have joined Sonoma County lawyers in urging the justices to “support the common sense proposition that officers need not wait for a gun to actually be leveled or pointed at them before responding with deadly force to protect themselves and the public.”
“They stand a good chance of prevailing, even though the high court grants only about 1% of appeal petitions,” the Times said.
No charges were brought against Gelhaus, and the deputy soon returned to duty. But the boy’s parents filed a federal civil rights law alleging a 4th Amendment’s violation.
Sonoma County attorneys argued that Gelhaus should be granted immunity, but Oakland Chief District Judge Phyllis Hamilton refused, and by a 2-1 vote the 9th Circuit Court affirmed her decision.
The case of Gelhaus vs. Lopez has now reached the highest court in the land, and the justices could act on the case as soon as Monday.
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