Hanks v. Rogers
Opinion Date: April 5, 2017
Judge: James Earl Graves, Jr.
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendant used excessive force against him in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment to defendant based on qualified immunity. The court held that plaintiff met his burden of rebutting defendant's qualified immunity defense. The court concluded that plaintiff alleged facts which, when viewed in the manner most favorable to him, would establish a violation of plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force during a seizure. The court also concluded that the constitutional right at issue was clearly established at the time of the incident, and that defendant's conduct was objectively unreasonable in light of then-existing clearly established law. In this case, defendant stopped plaintiff for a minor traffic offense and abruptly escalated to a takedown; plaintiff presented no immediate threat or flight of risk; and plaintiff offered, at most, passive resistance, including asking whether he was under arrest. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded.
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