In Hayes v. County of San Diego, the highest court in California decided that when it comes to a state tort negligence action, the law allows the factfinder to evaluate cops' negligent preshooting conduct in determining whether the shooting conduct as a whole constituted negligence under the "totality of the circumstances."
In the case of Hayes v. County of San Diego, cops were called to the house of a despairing and suicidal man. The cops went inside the house and an altercation ensued. The man apparently moved towards the deputies with a knife at which point the deputies shot and killed him.
The issue was whether under California negligence state tort law the jury would be able to look at the totality of the circumstances of how the deputies acted that day, such as their decision to pursue the man into the house and not summon psychiatric help, to determine if the ensuing deadly force police shooting constituted negligence under state tort law. Did the cops owe the man a duty of care with respect to their potentially provacative preshooting tactics and conduct...which may have put events in motion where a shooting would occur?
The court answered "yes" to that question: "Law enforcement personnel's tactical conduct and decisions preceding the use of deadly force are relevant considerations under California law in determining whether the use of deadly force gives rise to negligence liability. Such liability can arise, for example, if the tactical conduct and decisions show, as part of the totality of circumstances, that the use of deadly force was unreasonable."