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Police Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Summarizes Police Cases

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The cases cited below are a compilation of Virginia Supreme Court decisions summarized by Brien Roche deal with police issues. For more information on the general topic of police see the pages on Wikipedia


Va. Code § 8.01-226, which provides that law enforcement officers and fire fighters, while engaged in their duties, are owed duty of ordinary care.

Va. Code § 19-2-13 as to conservators of peace and liability of their employer.

Va. Code § 19-2-59 indicating that any officer or other person searching any place, thing or person otherwise than by virtue of and under search warrant shall be liable for damages.

Va. Code § 46.2-1309 as to methods to be employed by police officers to direct traffic.


2010 City of Alexandria v. J-W Enterprises, Inc., 279 Va. 711, 691 S.E.2d 769.
Police officer, while working for a restaurant, follows patrons out of restaurant when they did not pay. Patrons then enter car and drive car towards officer who believes that they have then committed a misdemeanor and fires at the vehicle. City, in attempting to seek contribution from restaurant for actions of police officer acting as a restaurant employee is barred from contribution because the officer in shooting was performing a police function and therefore doing so on behalf of the city.

1997 Buonocore v. C. & P. Telephone Co., 254 Va. 469, 492 S.E.2d 439
Employee of C. & P. accompanied police in search of home of C. & P. employee. Va. Code § 19.2-59 does not give rise to private cause of action.

1992 Benefiel v. Walker, 244 Va. 488, 422 S.E.2d 773
In these consolidated cases, policeman and fireman were injured in automobile accident. Police officer was in midst of traffic stop when he was rear-ended by another motorist. Fireman was on fire truck on way to fire when truck was involved in motor vehicle accident. Evidence in case established that defendants were engaged in independent acts that did not give rise to emergency, and in addition they were not occupiers of premises where emergency arose and injury occurred, and as such Fireman’s Rule is not applicable.

1990 Meagher v. Johnson, 239 Va. 380, 389 S.E.2d 310.
Police officer struck fugitive with cruiser. Speed of officer was not so great as to constitute gross negligence.

1982 Glenmar Cinestate, Inc. v. Farrell, 223 Va. 728, 292 S.E.2d 366.
Police officer, appointed by public authority employed and paid by private party, who engaged in performance of public duty, does not incur vicarious liability for his private employer.

1981 Doe v. Scott, 221 Va. 997, 277 S.E.2d 159.
Police officer struck by hit and run vehicle while pursuing suspect on foot. Degree of care police officer must pay to his own safety varies with amount of attention he must devote to task at hand.

1973 Bellamy v. Gates & Gill, 214 Va. 314, 200 S.E.2d 533.
Police officer appointed pursuant to state law has under law right to evidentiary hearing if he claims his dismissal was improper.

1972 Parker v. McCoy, 212 Va. 808, 188 S.E.2d 222.
In making arrest under lawful authority officer is within reasonable limits. He is judge of force necessary and he cannot be found guilty of any wrong unless he arbitrarily abuses power conferred on him. Reasonable force instruction should not contain mention of club as acceptable weapon. Because property owner asks police officer to leave premises does not mean police officer must leave, as police officer has law-given right in light of duty, to enter business establishment and to remain until he has discharged his duty. Police officer sues person who assaulted him during course of arrest. Question of whether criminal charge was nolle prosequi was inadmissible since this did not constitute acquittal.

1971 Broaddus v. Standard Drug Co., 211 Va. 645, 179 S.E.2d 497.
Drug company guard attempted to apprehend plaintiff who had fled police officer. Guard pursued plaintiff then shot him. Excessive force; as plaintiff was fleeing from, at best, commission of misdemeanor.

1970 Yates v. Potts, 210 Va. 636, 172 S.E.2d 784.
Statutory exemption allows police to exceed speed limit when in hot pursuit and sounding siren as may be reasonably necessary. Excessive speed exempted in this case.

1966 Mite v. John Doe, 207 Va. 276, 148 S.E.2d 797.
Police officer on motorcycle pursuing motorist was held not to be exempt from statutory duty not to pass in intersection.

1962 Berry v. Hamman, 203 Va. 596, 125 S.E.2d 851.
Police officer in process of apprehending felon shoots other officer. Defendant confronted with sudden emergency and acted reasonably under circumstances. Supreme Court indicates there is some authority holding that police officer confronted with sudden emergency when felon attempts escape or endangers life, may not be liable for negligence when bullet goes astray and strikes third person.

1956 Pike v. Eubanks, 197 Va. 692, 90 S.E.2d 821.
Plaintiff, while being booked on charge of drunkenness, was struck with pistol butt by defendant policeman. Policeman, holding plaintiff while other policeman struck him, was also found by jury to be liable. Verdict for plaintiff affirmed.

1951 Banks v. Bradley, 192 Va. 598, 66 S.E.2d 526.
If apparent necessity to kill is caused by officer’s unlawful endeavor to effect arrest, such does not justify or excuse killing.

1948 Norfolk Bus Term. v. Sheldon, 188 Va. 288, 49 S.E.2d 338.
Defendant special police officer arrested plaintiff on traffic charge. Jury issue as to whether within scope of employment.

1942 Rives v. Bolling, 180 Va. 124, 21 S.E.2d 775.
Accidental discharge of firearms presented jury question as to negligence.

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Police Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

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