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Hill joins 10-state amicus brief in defense of police officers

February 7, 2018

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has joined a 10-state amicus brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case he said could make police officers’ jobs more difficult.

Indiana — along with Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Wyoming and Washington, D.C. — jointly filed as amici curiae in the case of Fane Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, 17-21. The Florida case stems from an incident at a local town council meeting, where Fane Lozman was arrested for disorderly conduct after ignoring a councilman’s instructions to stop speaking.

Lozman sued, alleging his arrest was retaliatory and based on his exercise of his First Amendment rights to speak out against local government, as he was doing at the council meeting. He proposed a system in which officers could defend themselves against retaliatory arrest claims by proving police “generally” arrest for the crime in question.

The amici states argued in their brief filed last month that Lozman’s proposal is impractical and would be nearly impossible to implement, considering officers could not objectively determine in the field whether the crime they are arresting for is “generally” treated the same way. They also argued existing procedures, such as citizen complaint review boards, are sufficient to hold police officers accountable.

“As Hoosiers and Americans, we all depend on police officers to protect our families by patrolling our streets and removing dangerous criminals from our neighborhoods,” Hill said in a Tuesday statement. “Officers who lawfully follow proper procedures should never have to live in fear of being sued by suspects. They should never feel discouraged from making arrests in situations in which they have probable cause for doing so.”

The case is scheduled to go before the Supreme Court on Feb. 27.

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