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Tennessee v. Garner

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 471 U.S. 1,105 S. Ct. 1694, 85 L. Ed. 2d 1,1985 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. The officers in question shot an unarmed suspected felon. This case was instituted by the victim’s family alleging that the victim’s constitutional rights were violated by the officers.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. If an officer has probable cause to believe the suspect poses a threat of serious bodily harm either to fellow officers or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.


Facts. The police were summoned to stop a suspected burglary. As the police arrived, Victim was seen fleeing the seen of the alleged burglary. An officer saw Victim, and could see that Victim possessed no weapon, and yelled at him to stop. Victim continued to climb the wall to escape at which point he was shot and killed. Victim’s father brought this action seeking damages for a violation of the Victim’s constitutional rights. The judge found the officer’s actions were constitutional. The Appellate Court reversed and the State appealed.

Issue. Whether law enforcement officials can use deadly force to prevent the escape of an unarmed suspected felon under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Content Type: Brief


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