Breaking news from the Colorado ACLU in the lawsuit against the CSP that was filed on behalf of Jason Kemps family, who was shot and killed at his home in 2010 when he refused to allow state troopers into his home without a warrant.

According to the press release the State Patrol has agreed, "to pay over $1 million to Jason’s family and will also implement new training modules for all current and future officers to include specific instruction on the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment and its limited exceptions."

Apparently the new training will also emphasize de-escalation tactics and the limits on officers’ permissible use of force.

Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director said, “ACLU lawyers were prepared to prove not only that state troopers violated the Constitution when they unjustifiably kicked in Jason Kemp’s front door and shot and killed him, but also that supervisors all the way up the chain of command were responsible for recklessly deficient training that was the ultimate cause of this needless and preventable death.”

Some of you may remember this tragedy in the news if not here's what we know according to the lawsuit:

  • Troopers Kirk Firko and Ivan Lawyer were investigating a minor traffic accident that had resulted in minimal damage to a persons lawn.
  • They suspected Jason Kemp was responsible for the damage and that he may have been driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • They proceeded to knock at his door, Kemp told the troopers to get a warrant. Instead of seeking a warrant, the troopers proceeded to break down Kemp’s front door, with guns drawn.
  • When the door gave way, trooper Lawyer fired his weapon, killing the unarmed Kemp at the scene.
“Jason was killed because he did what every American has the right to do,” Silverstein said. “He insisted that police comply with the Fourth Amendment and obtain a warrant before entering a person’s home.”
Now if “exigent circumstances” defined by Bing as:
1. requiring immediate action or aid; urgent; pressing.
2. requiring a great deal, or more than is reasonable.
(in other words, extreme cases) exist, law enforcement is allowed to to enter a home without a warrant.
However the State Patrol affirmed that the risk that blood alcohol evidence might dissipate “does not constitute exigent circumstances sufficient to allow warrantless entry.” in addition, state patrol officers also will be taught that a suspected DUI that results in no personal injury does not justify warrantless entry into a home.
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