Ventura v. Rutledge, No. 19-16626 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Andrade, the mother of Omar’s children, called 911 and reported that Omar had hit Andrade and his mother, Ventura, and had smashed Andrade’s vehicle’s window. Officer Rutledge responded to the call, which was classified as a violent domestic disturbance. When Rutledge arrived at the home, Omar was not present. While Rutledge interviewed Andrade, Omar started walking toward the home. Andrade pointed and exclaimed, “that’s him.” Andrade moved behind trash cans in the driveway as Omar approached. Officer Rutledge issued several orders for Omar to “stop.” Omar continued to advance toward Andrade and displayed a knife, asking: “Is this what you wanted?” Rutledge shouted, “[s]top or I’ll shoot.” When Omar did not stop, Rutledge fired two shots, killing Omar. Omar got within 10–15 feet of Andrade before Rutledge fired.
In Ventura's suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Rutledge, on the basis of qualified immunity. No controlling precedent clearly established that Omar’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from the excessive use of deadly force by police would be violated when he was shot and killed as he advanced toward an individual he had earlier that day assaulted, while carrying a drawn knife and while defying specific police orders to stop.