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U.S. Supreme Court to Allow Civil Rights Case

Photo of Brant Stogner

Just this Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined the appeal of San Carlos officers Bonvicino and Buelow. This paves the way for former San Carlos resident, Bruce Hopkins, to move forward with his lawsuit against the officers and the city of San Carlos. Hopkins filed suit against the officers and the city alleging civil rights violations.

The basis of the suit stems from a 2003 auto accident in which Hopkins was involved. Apparently, the other driver in the accident followed Hopkins home and called police officers. When the officers arrived at Hopkins' home, the other driver told the officers that she smelled alcohol on Hopkins' breath. According to the lawsuit, the officers then cut through the screen door at Hopkins' home and entered with firearms drawn. The officers found Hopkins in his bedroom, handcuffed him and arrested him after he later failed a Breathalyzer test.

While it is shocking that the officers would enter the home without a warrant or without any evidence of exigent circumstances, the officers are claiming that they actually entered the home because they feared that Hopkins could be having a "diabetic emergency" based on the driver's description of smelling alcohol on Hopkins' breath. In any event, a jury is going to get to hear the evidence in this case and determine whether the officers and the city violated Hopkins' constitutionally granted civil rights.

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