INDIANAPOLIS, June 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Police Association (NPA) is asking the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and review the Second Circuit's decision in Scism v. Ferris. In the amicus brief, the NPA argues that the Supreme Court should accept review of the case because the Second Circuit's interpretation fails to analyze the "totality of the circumstances" in which the underlying use of force took place. In other words, by referring as "disputed" to facts that are anything but, the court ices those facts out of the analysis—even when those facts provide key context for why an officer acted the way he or she did in a dangerous, high-stress situation.
On June 13, 2016, plain clothes detectives were approached by a subject unrelated to their investigation. They observed a gun in his waistband and identified themselves as police officers. The subject, Joshua Scism, a registered sex offender with multiple prior arrests including weapons and drug charges, put his hand on a gun in his waistband. Detective Ferris shot and mortally wounded Scism. Scism's gun was recovered. Schenectady, NY cleared Detective Ferris of any wrongdoing. The Scism, estate, however, claimed Scism's gun didn't exist and sued. The District Court and Second Circuit Court of Appeals have let the suit against Detective Ferris continue.
NPA Spokesperson Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith (Ret.) said "Adverse rulings in litigation cases can have negative consequences far beyond the named parties. As such, the National Police Association, an educational/advocacy nonprofit, seeks out cases that portend the most potential harm to all law enforcement if the officer were to lose and enters the case as a friend of the court to assist law enforcement."
Here, the Second Circuit, like the district court before it, failed to comprehend several observational facts as undisputed when they clearly were. Namely, that Mr. Scism, the Decedent, defied the detective's directive and instead placed his hand on a semi-automatic handgun in his waistband in view of the detective mere seconds before the detective fired his own gun.
These facts are key to whether Petitioner committed a constitutional violation. There is a growing trend among lower courts to give short shrift to the totality perspective in doing a Fourth Amendment use-of-force analysis. This failure completely undermines the point of deference to a profession where life-threatening danger is a routine occurrence.
Given this state of affairs, the Court should take this case. Not only does the Court's precedent demand it, but sound scientific evidence supports the existence of a deferential standard for the women and men who protect the Nation's citizenry every day.
The National Police Association is represented by Robert S. Lafferrandre of Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green, L.L.P., of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The case is Brett Ferris v. the Estate of Joshua Scism, No. 21-2622 before the United States Supreme Court. The NPA's amicus brief can be read here: https://nationalpolice.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/National-Police-Association-Amicus-Brief-Brett-Ferris-v-Chrystal-Scism.pdf
About The National Police Association
The National Police Association (NPA) is a 501(c)3 Educational/Advocacy non-profit organization. For additional information visit www.nationalpolice.org.
SOURCE National Police Association