A lawsuit filed by two police officers after separate use-of-force incidents claiming that they are entitled to protection under Florida’s recently-adopted “Marsy’s Law” – a Constitutional amendment – will head to the state Supreme Court for a decision.
“A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal last month sided with two Tallahassee police officers, who argued that, as victims, they were entitled to privacy protections included in Marsy’s Law,” WFSU reported.
“With respect for the [appellate] court’s opinion and appreciation of the difficult work performed by police officers every day, the decision has far-reaching implications related to public transparency and is deserving of final review by Florida’s highest court,” she said in a statement.
Marsy’s Law is a national movement for victim’s rights.
Adopted in several state Constitutions, including Florida’s in 2018, it ensures that victims of crimes have their privacy protected, while also understanding their rights and being afforded the opportunity to follow the criminal proceedings against their attackers.
The question before the state Supreme Court is whether police officers, who are public servants, should be entitled to the same victim’s privacy rights as civilian crime victims if a criminal action is perpetrated against them during a use-of-force incident.
The appellate court that ruled in favor of the two police officers, identified only as “John Doe 1” and “John Doe 2″ in the lawsuit filed on their behalf by the Police Benevolent Association, said that they should be protected by Marsy’s Law.
The two judges who decided in favor of the police officers wrote in their opinion that a police officer “meets the definition of a crime victim … when a crime suspect threatens the officer with deadly force, placing the officer in fear for his life,” and that nothing in Marsy’s law “excludes law enforcement officers – or other government employees – from the protections granted crime victims.”
Critics of the decision say that police officers should be excluded from protection under Marsy’s Law, and that the public has a right to know details about officers involved in use-of-force scenarios.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Florida State Supreme Court” by Bruin79. CC BY-SA 3.0.