The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides protection for individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Supreme Court and circuit courts alike have repeatedly analyzed the definition and applicability of the word “seizure,” along with the requisite amount of force needed to constitute a seizure, in a continued effort to safeguard against violation of the Fourth Amendment. In Brooks v. Gaenzle, the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit considered whether shooting a suspect in the back as he successfully fled from pursuit could be construed as a seizure, and therefore represent a violation of the suspect’s constitutional rights. The court held that no Fourth Amendment violation took place, because a clear restraint of freedom of movement must occur in order for a seizure to result.
Keith Brooks and Nick Acevedo broke into a home on October 17, 2005, with the intent to burglarize it. When neighbors called police, El Paso County Sherriff’s Department deputies, Steve Gaenzle and Paul Smith, responded and found the suspects in the home’s garage. Brooks and Acevedo fled into the house, shut the door, and fired one gunshot through the closed door at the officers. Unharmed by the gunshot, the two officers ran from the garage and witnessed Brooks fleeing from the house and climbing a fence. Gaenzle yelled “stop” and fired a shot at Brooks, striking him in the lower back. Wounded, Brooks continued over the fence and fled the scene, but police captured him three days later after another chase. . .