The U.S. Supreme Court has again stepped into the bitter public turmoil over police shootings of civilians, ruling Monday that an Arizona police officer is shielded from being sued for shooting a woman in her own front yard.
The court said the officer acted reasonably, given that the woman, Amy Hughes, was carrying a large kitchen knife, that she was standing within striking distance of a woman who the officer did not know was Hughes's roommate, and that Hughes failed to drop the knife when ordered to do so.
Police were called to the scene after a 911 call reported a woman hacking at a tree with a knife. Hughes fit the description of the woman. So when police spotted her with the knife in her hand, and within striking distance of another woman, all three officers on the scene drew their guns.
Three officers draw guns, but only one shoots
They said Hughes appeared calm, but when she failed to acknowledge the officers' presence or their twice repeated order to drop the knife, one of the three officers opened fire.