US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Romero v. Grapevine, Texas,
Opinion Date: April 20, 2018
Judge: Edith Brown Clement
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims against the City and Eddie Salame, Chief of the Grapevine Police Department (GPD). The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Officer Robert Clark on plaintiff's remaining excessive force claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983 on the basis of qualified immunity. Ruben Garcia-Villalpando was shot and killed by Clark. Given the tense and evolving factual circumstances, the court held that Clark reasonably believed that Garcia-Villalpando posed a threat of serious harm. In this case, Garcia-Villalpando fled the scene of a serious crime, drove recklessly and endangered others, refused to obey roughly thirty commands, and approached Clark on a narrow highway shoulder directly adjacent to speeding traffic. The court explained that the fact that Garcia-Villalpando was ultimately found to have been unarmed was immaterial. Because plaintiff failed to demonstrate that Garcia-Villalpando's Fourth Amendment rights were violated, her claims against the City and Salame for failure to train and inadequate screening/hiring failed as well.
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