After Map Kong was fatally shot by police in Burnsville, Minnesota, the plaintiff filed suit against the city and the officers under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law. The district court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity and official immunity. The Eighth Circuit reversed, holding that the district court erred in denying the officers qualified immunity. The court held that, even if the facts showed that the officers had violated Kong’s Fourth Amendment right, the law at the time of the shooting did not clearly establish the right. In this case, Kong ran toward bystanders with a knife against the officers’ repeated orders to drop the weapon; there was at least one pedestrian visible on the body-camera footage, and a steady flow of vehicles through the parking lot meant that citizens might quickly approach or step out of their vehicles. Therefore, the court held that a reasonable officer would have believed the law permitted shooting Kong under these circumstances. The court also held that, even if the officers acted negligently, they did not intentionally disregard the police department’s policy on crisis intervention for persons. Therefore, the officers are entitled to official immunity and the district court erred in denying summary judgment on the state-law negligence claim. Furthermore, the city is entitled to vicarious official immunity.
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