U.S. Supreme Court sides with West Memphis Police in fatal shooting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On July 5, 2004, Donald Rickard led Arkansas police on a chase that started in West Memphis and ended on the other side of the bridge at the intersection of Danny Thomas and Jackson.

Police say they pulled him over because one of his headlights was out, but Rickard decided to take off.

The ensuing high-speed chase ended when police shot and killed Rickard and his passenger Kelly Allen, an innocent third party.

Prosecutors filed charges against three officers for shooting and killing Allen, and Rickard’s daughter sued all six of them.

“We have lost a significant part of this case, but I do not regret the fight. This is one when I saw that video I felt a professional obligation to pursue it,” Gary Smith said.

He represented Rickard’s daughter and argued this case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Smith said, “The Supreme Court saw this case and the video differently than we did. Differently than the original judge did, and differently than the 6th circuit panel.”

A federal judge originally ruled a specific type of immunity did not cover the officers from a lawsuit, but Tuesday, the country’s highest court disagreed.

The three officers criminally charged with shooting the pair had to go through a diversion program. Their records were wiped clean, and they will not serve any jail time.


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