Supreme Court sides with officer in Arizona police shooting

The US Supreme Court Building in Washington

"Kisela says he shot Hughes because, although the officers themselves were in no apparent danger, he believed she was a threat to Chadwick".

A trial court backed Kisela, ruling he deserved qualified immunity from a civil lawsuit.

Prosecutors said Katherine was trying to hide in a small space between a wall and a dryer in a laundry room when Russell chased her down, pressed a gun to the back of her head, and killed her.

In late June, the justices asked the administration to weigh in on the case, as they often do in cases with foreign policy implications. She called their decision that Kisela was immune from being sued "unwarranted" and "symptomatic" of a disturbing trend. Therefore, officers are entitled to immunity unless previous cases clearly tell them a specific use of force is unlawful.

The victims and families sued the Palestinian organizations under the Anti-Terrorism Act, a law that allows victims of global terrorism to be sued in the U.S. But one year after they were awarded more than half-a-billion dollars, an appellate court in NY state threw out the award on the grounds that U.S. courts lack the jurisdiction to hear cases against the PA and PLO, prompting the Supreme Court appeal.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich disagreed that the decision sends a signal for police to shoot first and think later.

"It's a bad, awful tragedy", he said.

Lawmakers say the ruling substantially neuters the ATA.

"I think as a society, as a state, there needs to be a broader examination when it comes to law enforcement and the use of force, and to ensure that it truly is a last resort", he told Capitol Media Services.

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But that, he said, will take legislation. "I can't create a system where maybe the AG's office is investigating officer-involved shootings". She noted the other two police officers didn't open fire, and one of them testified he had wanted to continue using verbal commands.

The case started in 2010 when three police officers responded to a 911 call reporting that a woman had been seen acting erratically by hacking at a tree with a knife. She didn't and Officer Andrew Kisela shot her four times, hitting her in the stomach, hip, arm and knee.

The justices also said the 9th Circuit had ignored its own precedent - a 2005 case with a similar line of facts where the officer was found to have used reasonable force and didn't violate the Fourth Amendment.

Today's ruling was not unanimous.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who dissented along with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, saw the case differently.

"Hughes was nowhere near the officers, had committed no illegal act, was suspected of no crime, and did not raise the knife in the direction of Chadwick or anyone else", Sotomayor wrote.

Officers drew their weapons, and Hughes was told to drop the knife at least twice.

"But not Kisela", she said. Hughes, who matched the description of the welfare-check subject, then walked out of the house, still holding the knife by her side.

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