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Supreme Court expands ability to sue police for excessive force

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A landmark Supreme Court decision Thursday expanded the ability of people to sue police for excessive force — with justices saying that cops don’t have to physically seize a plaintiff to violate their Fourth Amendment rights.

The nation’s top court ruled in favor of a New Mexico woman who filed a civil rights lawsuit after she was shot by cops who she thought were criminals trying to steal her car.

In a 5-3 decision, justices ruled that Roxanne Torres could continue suing New Mexico State Police for violating the Constitution’s illegal search and seizure ban, even though she had not been seized in the incident.

In 2014, four cops approached Torres with guns drawn while she sat in her car at an Albuquerque apartment complex. Torres drove off, mistaking the officers as car jackers. Police fired 13 shots, hitting her twice as she fled the scene.

Torres was arrested at a hospital and convicted of fleeing from a law enforcement officer.

“We hold that the application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure even if the person does not submit and is not subdued,” conservative Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling.

Three liberal justices and conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed with Roberts, while Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented. Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett sat out the ruling because she was not yet on the court when the case was argued last year.

Gorsuch wrote in his dissenting opinion that a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment has always been defined as “taking possession of someone or something.”

“That view is as mistaken as it is novel,” Gorsuch wrote of the court’s ruling.

Torres’ 2016 lawsuit was initially dismissed in a New Mexico federal court and a Circuit Court of Appeals, because judges ruled there could be no excessive force claim without a “seizure.”

Officers will now seek to have her lawsuit dismissed on other grounds in lower courts.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on other cases of police powers by the end of June.

With Post wires

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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

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An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

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The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”

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