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Jakob v. Cheeks

Police officers chased Mikel Neil at speeds exceeding 90 mph because he drove through a red light. They then performed a Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) maneuver, using their car to strike Mr. Neil’s car, causing Mr. Neil’s car to spin out of control and crash at high speed into a tree. The officers then fled the crash scene without calling for help or otherwise providing any aid. Mr. Neil died as a result. Mr. Neil’s mother, Clara Cheeks, sued the officers, and the officers moved for summary judgment on grounds of qualified immunity. The district court denied the motion, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed. The officers then petitioned the Supreme Court for review.

Public Citizen serves as co-counsel for Ms. Cheeks in the Supreme Court. Our brief in opposition explains that the law is clearly established that officers owe a duty to aid a person injured while being apprehended and that an officer’s deliberate indifference to the person’s serious medical need violates the person’s right to be rendered aid. The brief also argues that, because Mr. Neil’s serious medical need after crashing at high speed into a tree was obvious to any layperson, medical evidence of the detrimental effect of the failure to provide aid was not needed to support the court’s finding that Mr. Neil had an objectively serious medical need.