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The application of the rule came as the result of two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies searching for a potentially armed and dangerous parolee-at-large, and instead stumbling upon Angel Mendez and Jennifer Lynn Garcia "napping" in the shack where they lived.

The deputies burst into a shack without a warrant or announcing their presence. Mendez got up from the bed holding a BB gun, which prompted one deputy to yell "gun!" Both deputies then opened fire and hit Mendez and Garcia multiple times. The deputies never found the suspected parolee in the shack or anywhere else on the property, as the high court's opinion noted.

Mendez and Garcia sued the deputies under Fourth amendment grounds on claims of a warrantless entry, unannounced entry and excessive force. A federal court granted damages to Mendez and Garcia on the warrantless and unannounced entry claims.

On the claim of excessive force, the federal court found the use of force to be "reasonable" but held the officers responsible under the 9th Circuit's provocation rule. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's use of the provocation rule.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court scrapped the provocation rule because of its inconsistency with existing court precedent
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision is a victory for public safety everywhere.

The ‘provocation rule’ put the lives of law enforcement officers in great danger by second-guessing every action they had taken prior to using reasonable force. 

Such a rule could lead to peace officers hesitating while facing an imminent and deadly threat with great potential for tragic results. 

The Court’s ruling reaffirms that there is no other profession like policing, one that demands that an officer respond to a potentially life threatening situation and make split second decisions in order to defend himself and save the lives of the public we are sworn to protect.

The law must allow for law enforcement to act upon their training and their commitment to the rule of law.”