Royal Oak, Mich., police officer Keith Bierenga’s qualified immunity defense in the 2018 shooting of Antonino Gordon during a traffic stop has been left in place by the Supreme Court, despite a recent appeal by Nita Gordon, Gordon’s widow, who accused Bierenga of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment, reports Andrew Chung for Reuters.
The Court refused to take up an appeal by Gordon of a decision by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2021 that had granted Bierenga immunity, ruling that no prior case was similar enough to the situation. Bierenga investigated Gordon for making a series of traffic violations that nearly caused collisions, attempting to stop him in the drive-thru lane of a White Castle. When Gordon began to maneuver the car to get around Bierenga, who had his gun drawn, and attempted to drive away, the officer fired four shots into the driver’s side of the car. Gordon, whose blood alcohol content was determined to be over three times the legal limit, later died in a hospital from his injuries.