Samples v. Vadzemnieks
Opinion Date: August 17, 2018
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law
The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment to a law enforcement officer based on qualified immunity in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging that he used excessive force when he tased plaintiff. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to show that the officer violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be free of excessive force. However, the officer's actions did not violate law that was clearly established at the time of the incident. In Caroll v. Ellington, and in this case, officers confronted a suspect whom they believed to be on drugs, attempted to verbally secure the suspect's compliance, and chose to deploy a taser despite their knowledge that the suspect was unarmed. The Carroll panel decided that no clearly established law made the officer's decision to resort to the taser unreasonable.
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