Monzon v. City of Murrieta, No. 19-55164 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action alleging that police officers used unreasonable deadly force when they shot and killed Junef Monzon following a high-speed chase. The panel held that the officers' use of deadly force was objectively reasonable in this dynamic and urgent situation, where officers were faced with the immediate threat of significant physical harm. The panel explained that the severity of Monzon's crime weighed in favor of the use of force; Monzon posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers when he ignored commands to stop the van and drove near, toward, and amongst the officers on foot; and Monzon's driving endangered the officers and left them with only seconds to consider less severe alternatives.
The panel also held that a reasonable officer in the position of the individual defendant officers would have probable cause to believe that Monzon posed an immediate threat to the safety of one or more of the other officers or himself. Furthermore, even if the officers' use of deadly force was unreasonable, the officers did not violate a clearly established right. The panel rejected claims of failure to train and state law claims.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on October 27, 2020.