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Torres v. Madrid


Torres was experiencing a meth withdrawal, and when officers approached the car where Torres was sitting, she thought the officers were carjackers and stepped on the gas to escape them. The two officers got out of the way, but shot 13 times, striking Torres in the back twice, temporarily paralyzing her left arm. Torres kept driving and arrived at a parking lot, asked someone to report a cracking, and then stole a Kia Soul and drove it Mexico. The hospital in Mexico airlifted her to the hospital in the town where the original shooting took place.Torres later claims that “the officers applied excessive force, making the shooting an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment.


“Whether a seizure occurs when an officer shoots someone who temporarily eludes capture after the shooting.”


Yes. “The application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure, even if the force does not succeed in subduing the person.”


“We hold that the application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure even if the person does not submit and is not subdued. Of course, a seizure is just the first step in the analysis. The Fourth Amendment does not forbid all or even most seizures—only unreasonable ones. All we decide today is that the officers seized Torres by shooting her with intent to restrain her movement. We leave open on remand any questions regarding the reasonableness of the seizure, the damages caused by the seizure, and the officers’ entitlement to qualified immunity.”


141 S.Ct. 989 (2021)

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