Deadly Memphis Police Chase Goes Before Supreme Court
(CNN) — A busted headlight that led to a traffic stop and then a wild chase that ended with two people dying in a hail of police bullets.
That’s the case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, an appeal testing the limits of split-second law enforcement discretion for using deadly force.
The incident in question began in July 2004, when police in West Memphis, Arkansas, questioned Donald Rickard at a gas station about a broken light on his white Honda.
He refused to step out the car and then took off. With his girlfriend, Kelly Allen, in the passenger seat, Rickard crossed over the Mississippi River into Tennessee along Interstate 40.
Mounted cameras from three police vehicles, led by Officer Vance Plumhoff, show Rickard weaving in and out of traffic, then ramming a police car head-on.
The Honda is later surrounded and as the suspect tries to back up, he sideswipes another cop car, and almost strikes one of the officers.
The video then captures police firing 15 point-blank shots into the vehicle, as it drives away. The car then goes airborne and slams into a house in Memphis.
Rickard and Allen, both 44, were killed.