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Amicus brief: Stevens-Rucker v. Frenz 

The Rutherford Institute is weighing in on a case in which police shot a military veteran multiple times, then let him bleed to death rather than rendering emergency aid. Arguing that police have a constitutional obligation to provide life-saving aid to those injured during the course of an arrest, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a lawsuit against two Ohio police officers who, despite being trained in first aid, failed to intervene to save the life of a military veteran as he lay bleeding to death from at least four gunshot wounds. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that police satisfy their constitutional obligations to assist a person they injure in the course of an arrest simply by calling for an ambulance to transport the arrestee to a hospital. In asking the Court to hear the case, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that if prisoners have a constitutional right to medical care under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments, then police should be held to a comparable standard in their treatment of arrestees who require urgent medical attention.

Affiliate attorneys Anand Agneshwar, Paige Hester Sharpe, and Upnit K. Bhatti of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP, of New York and Washington, D.C., assisted The Rutherford Institute in presenting its arguments in the Stevens-Rucker case.

“While this case demands that police officers be made to abide by the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments, it also demands that they be held to a higher moral law—that of basic decency, humanity and a truer understanding of what it means to be a public servant,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “Common decency demands that the police not merely stand by while a person endures the pain of serious injury. As the Supreme Court itself has recognized, such disregard for human suffering is ‘incompatible with the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.’”


January 24, 2019 • Rutherford Institute Asks SCOTUS to Rule That Police Have a Constitutional Duty to Render Emergency Aid


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