• U.S. District Court
  • 3:11cv1343
  • Aug 02 2013 (Date Decided)
  • Bryant, J.

When ruling whether the amount of force used was objectively unreasonable, courts may consider the severity of the crime, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat and whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to flee. On Nov. 27, 2009, police received a report that the plaintiff, who drove a white Ford, was suspected of tire slashing. Police drove to the plaintiff's residence and observed an individual who met the plaintiff's description and was carrying a knife. A police officer informed the plaintiff he met the description of a suspect. The plaintiff placed the knife in his pocket and the police claimed that when they attempted to frisk the plaintiff he began to place his hands in his pockets. (The plaintiff denies that he started to place his hands in his pockets.) Allegedly, the plaintiff was argumentative, ran away, and brandished his knife, and the police shot him three times with a taser, which did not appear to work, and then shot the plaintiff twice with a gun. (The plaintiff denied that he brandished a knife.) The plaintiff sued, alleging that the police used excessive force, in violation of his civil rights. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The court found that the use of tasers when the police pursued the plaintiff was objectively reasonable, because the plaintiff, who possessed a knife, was argumentative, fled and failed to follow orders to stop. Use of nonlethal force was objectively reasonable. The court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to use of tasers during the pursuit. To the extent, if any, that tasers were used after the plaintiff was subdued, and that the police fired a gun, the court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment.