Ninth Circuit Agrees with Amicus Brief Filed by the National Police Association on Behalf of LAPD Officer Toni McBride

Ninth Circuit Agrees with Amicus Brief Filed by the National Police Association on Behalf of LAPD Officer Toni McBride

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Indianapolis – March 24, 2024. In June 2022 the National Police Association (“NPA”) filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case of Estate of Daniel Hernandez, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Nos. 21-55994 & 21-55995. The case raised important questions about the right of police to use deadly force in defense of themselves and others. The NPA has filed briefs amicus curiae across the country in support of rules of law that recognize and support the discretion of police officers to respond to the difficult and often life-threatening circumstances to which they are exposed in their line of duty.

In this case, after causing a serious multiple car accident, Daniel Hernandez confronted Officer Toni McBride of the Los Angeles Police Department with a box cutter in his hand, advancing on her and refusing repeated commands to drop the weapon until she fired her weapon. Although he never dropped the weapon, it took six shots before he stopped attempting to reach her. He did not survive his assault.

Mr. Hernandez’ relatives sued Officer McBride, the Los Angeles Police Department and the City of Los Angeles, alleging that Officer McBride violated Mr. Hernandez’ constitutional rights by defending herself.

In its brief, the NPA warned that it would be “contrary to the interests of law enforcement and social order generally to create a rule of constitutional law denying the use of deadly force against armed suspects advancing on police officers who refuse commands to drop the weapon.”  Police officers cannot effectively maintain control of violent offenders on the Nation’s streets, and prevent further injury to the public if their only option available is to retreat until the suspects can somehow be controlled without the use of deadly force. That would create an unreasonable risk to the lives of police officers and the public. The doctrine of qualified immunity and the U.S. Constitution do not require such a risk.

The federal appellate court ruled that the legal doctrine of qualified immunity protects Officer McBride from federal claims. The court’s ruling can be found here.

The National Police Association is represented by James L. Buchal of Murphy & Buchal LLP. The NPA’s amicus brief can be viewed here.

The National Police Association is a 501(c)3 Educational/Advocacy non-profit organization. For additional information visit