This is a 42 U.S.C. §1983 civil action alleging excessive use of force by law enforcement officers.  When police tried to wake someone, who was apparently asleep in a grocery store lobby early in the morning, the man responded aggressively. As four officers struggled to get handcuffs on the suspect, a fifth officer deployed her taser and the man was then handcuffed. Still struggling, the man was hobbled and masked after he tried to kick and spit at officers.  Officers believed the man was “methed out.” The suspect went into cardiac arrest during booking and died in a hospital four days later.

The suspect’s mother sued the officers for using excessive force after restraining the suspect.  The District Court denied the officer’s motions for summary judgment based on qualified immunity.  The 8th Circuit reversed and granting the officers qualified immunity holding that the plaintiff failed to show that the right was “clearly established” under these facts.

Editor’s Note: This is another qualified immunity analysis where the court skips the first question of whether the force was excessive, and answers the second question (clearly established prong) to dispose of the issue.

To read or download a copy of the decision CLICK HERE