Marrero-Rodriguez v. Municipality of San Juan, No. 11-1195 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Training, simulating an arrest, took place at a police facility in San Juan without certified trainers. A requirement that weapons be emptied was not enforced and the highest-ranked officer gave the order that bulletproof jackets not be worn during the exercise. Loaded guns were present and the officer playing the suspect was shot and died. His family filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The trial court dismissed. The First Circuit reversed in part, first affirming dismissal of Fourth and Eighth Amendment claims. With respect to Fourteenth Amendment claims, plaintiffs adequately claimed that actions and inactions of the police and the use of a loaded firearm under the circumstances shock the conscience, and that defendants with supervisory responsibility were callously and recklessly deficient in the lack of any care for the safety of the officer. The mayor is not amenable to suit merely because he is mayor, nor may the municipality be sued, as pled, on a respondeat superior theory. Although the complaint alleges that there were insufficient regulations in place to govern the training exercise, it also describes several safety procedures that were intended to prevent exactly this type of accident.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on May 21, 2012.