ONLY ON KOLD: Appeals court rules PCSD search policy unconstitut - Tucson News Now

ONLY ON KOLD: Appeals court rules PCSD search policy unconstitutional

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

"(The) Pima County Sheriff's Department does not follow the training program that they're supposed to." That's what Rob Larson told Tucson News Now's Craig Thomas, in an exclusive interview - after he won his initial lawsuit.

On Thursday, June 29 a federal appeals court said yes, you're right, the deputies violated your rights. This matters to everyone, because the court also said the policy the sheriff's department has for certain situations is unconstitutional. It can violate people's rights every time it's used.

"The officer had his AR-15 pointed at me - his assault rifle. He says, 'Get your hands up and come outside.' He took this hand and put it behind my back. He handcuffed me. Then he pulled me over here and did the same thing to my wife," said Larson, in 2014, a year after the incident in which deputies came to his home and basically kept him and his wife in custody for several hours.

A mentally unstable man had called 911 and claimed he'd heard shots fired and screaming at the Larsons' home, but at the time they were actually asleep.

On Thursday, three judges on the appeals court ruled unanimously that the $1.25 million judgment the Larsons received will stand. However, that is not all. The court said the Pima County Sheriff's Department policy known as "call out and containment" is unconstitutional.

That policy lets deputies temporarily arrest people when they get a call about a potentially dangerous situation, and ask questions later.

In the original testimony, a PCSD superior testified deputies did what they were trained to do when it came to the Larsons. One of the appeals judges mentioned that during the arguments.

"It seemed there was a lot of testimony that when we got one of these calls - we're allowed to go into someone's home and arrest them without regard to an independent establishment if there's probable cause."

In March, Tucson News Now asked Sheriff Mark Napier, who was not in charge when this incident happened, if he'd changed policy or training for deputies after the Larsons won the initial case. He said no. 

We reached out to the sheriff again Thursday, to see if things will change. He was out of town and was unavailable to respond. 

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