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Tort/Negligence – Wrongful Death – Police Shooting – Public Official Immunity

Tort/Negligence – Wrongful Death – Police Shooting – Public Official Immunity

Where (1) multiple officers saw that plaintiff’s decedent, Keith Scott, was armed as he sat in his SUV in an apartment complex parking lot; (2) Scott ignored an officer’s commands to put his hands up as officers approached his SUV; (3) when Scott got out of the vehicle, his movements were unusual (slow, walking sideways), (4) despite being surrounded by law enforcement officers, Scott kept his hands down at his sides, preventing the officers from seeing if he was still holding the gun; (5) Scott then walked backwards, facing toward some of the officers, with his arms still at his sides; (6) the defendant-officer facing Scott, about a car length away, shot Scott four times; (7) immediately after the shooting, officers said Scott had a gun in his hand as he lay on the ground; (8) recordings showed that Scott had blood on his fingers; and (9) the gun the officers recovered had Scott’s blood on the grip, a reasonable officer acting in good faith could have acted as the defendant-officer did.

We reverse the trial court’s denial of the officer’s motion for partial summary judgment. We dismiss defendants’ appeal of other interlocutory rulings, which are unrelated to questions of immunity.

Plaintiff failed to meet her heavy burden of showing either malice or that the officer acted outside the scope of his authority.

Scott v. City of Charlotte (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-572-22, 16 pp.) (Richard Dietz, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court (Forrest Bridges, J.) Matthew Berthold and Charles Monnett for plaintiff; Jessica Battle and Lori Keeton for defendants. 2022-NCCOA-929


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