Two off-duty officers working security at a concert tried to remove an unruly “crowd surfer” by pulling him up an over a barrier to a platform. Losing his grip, the officer ended up dropping the suspect on his head, fracturing two neck vertebrae. The crowd-surfing suspect sued the officers and the Board of Police Commissioners in a 42 U.S.C. §1983 action for excessive use of force and wrongful arrest.

The Eighth Circuit concluded that no reasonable jury could find that Carter’s uses of force (the grab, the lift, and the throw/drop) were objectively unreasonable. The court also held the plaintiff failed to show that even if the degree of force was unreasonable, the right was not clearly established. So, the plaintiff lost on BOTH prongs of the qualified immunity test.

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