Brooklyn Law Review


Hayley Bork


High-speed police chases are a deadly tactic used and abused by the police to apprehend motorists who flee from traffic stops. Police departments around the country routinely escalate stops for mere traffic infractions into dangerous high-speed pursuits, resulting in death and injury to those involved. Moreover, Black Americans represent a disproportionate number of those stopped, chased, and killed by police, making high-speed chases, like many police-citizen encounters, highly racialized. However, for motorists injured by high-speed chases, maintaining a successful lawsuit against the responsible officers remains incredibly difficult under current excessive force jurisprudence. Although police department policies limiting when and why officers may initiate a pursuit might mitigate the abuse of this police tactic, heightened judicial scrutiny of high-speed chases is what is needed to provide survivors of police brutality with meaningful redress for the harm they have suffered. This note calls for a shift in excessive force jurisprudence that would allow plaintiffs to argue what is plainly true: that it is inherently unreasonable for officers to engage in high-speed pursuits