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Supreme Court: Police justified in deadly 2004 car chase

By CNN Staff
updated 5:01 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014

(CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that police officers were within their rights to use deadly force in a 2004 two-state car chase and shooting that ended with two people killed in western Tennessee.

The justices, in a 9-0 ruling, also said the police officers involved are immune from lawsuits.

The incident in question began in July 2004, when police in West Memphis, Arkansas, questioned Donald Rickard at a gas station about a broken light on his white Honda.

Rickard refused to step out the car and then took off. With his girlfriend, Kelly Allen, in the passenger seat, Rickard crossed over the Mississippi River into Tennessee along Interstate 40.

After Rickard rammed a police car head-on and sideswiped another, police fired 15 shots into the vehicle, mounted cameras from police vehicles show. The car went airborne and slammed into a house in Memphis. Rickard and Allen, both 44, were killed.

Rickard's daughter subsequently sued, saying unreasonable force was used, since her father was neither armed nor had just committed a serious criminal offense.

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CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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