Federal Officers Shouldn’t Be Above The Law
Kevin Byrd awoke one night to a phone call informing him that his ex-girlfriend had been in a bad car crash and might not live. He soon learned that she and her then-boyfriend were kicked out of a restaurant and that the boyfriend had been driving when they hit a parked Greyhound bus at 70 mph.
Kevin went to the restaurant to ask about what had happened leading up to the crash. When he was about to drive out of the parking lot, the boyfriend’s father, Ray Lamb, approached Kevin’s vehicle. Lamb was a Department of Homeland Security officer. He pointed his gun at Kevin through the car windshield and threatened to kill him. He then pulled the trigger, but thankfully it jammed.
When police arrived, Lamb displayed his federal badge, and officers detained Kevin in a squad car. After officers watched the surveillance video of the incident, however, they arrested Lamb for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and let Kevin go.
Kevin sued Lamb for violating his Fourth Amendment rights by threatening him with a gun and unlawfully detaining him. The trial court concluded that Lamb’s conduct was so clearly unconstitutional that qualified immunity could not shield him from the lawsuit. On appeal, however, the 5th Circuit ruled that because Lamb held a federal badge, that alone shielded him from being held accountable; as a result, Kevin’s case was dismissed.
Now, Kevin and the Institute for Justice have teamed up to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 5th Circuit’s ruling.
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