The Precedent Setting Case

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June 1850 in Washington County, Maryland—Jonathan Pottle, a Boston banker, had arrived in Washington County to recover a debt from a defaulted mill owner, whom judgement was made against. Along with a sheriff’s deputy, Pottle went to the mill to foreclose on it when he was taken hostage by the mill workers after he refused to pay them the wages that the mill owner had not. Although help was requested from the deputy and the sheriff, he was denied any assistance from the authorities. After being held prisoner for 4 days, Pottle agreed to pay them $2,500 and was released. Claiming negligence on the part of the shieriff’s department, Pottle took the matter to the Supreme Court where the final ruling made precedence in many more recent cases of alleged police negligence. The ruling stated that: