Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sec. 1983 - "under color of state law"

Washington-Pope v. City of Philadelphia – ED Pa. – October 22, 2013 (58 pp)

Officer Yolaina Washington-Pope’s harrowing ordeal raises the question of whether an on-duty, in-uniform police officer, who raises his service weapon to his partner’s temple as their exchange of words in their police cruiser rapidly escalates, acts under color of state law for purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Although the facts of this case and Ms. Washington-Pope’s experiences are doubtlessly distressing, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ precedent, the acknowledged purposes of § 1983, and more analogous case law from other courts constrain this Court to answer that question in the negative. This case serves as a sobering reminder that federal law does not provide a remedy for every wrong or even every horrifying injury.