Cooper, Sr. v. Sheehan, No. 13-1071 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against officers under 42 U.S.C. 1983, as well as state law claims, after plaintiff was shot by the officers. Plaintiff, after hearing sounds of unknown persons outside his home, opened the front door carrying a shotgun and was shot by the officers. The court concluded that it had jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine. The district court did not err in denying the officers qualified immunity from plaintiff's excessive force claims under section 1983 where a reasonable officer would not have had probable cause to feel threatened by plaintiff's actions and the constitutional right at issue - the right to be free from deadly force when posing no threat - was clearly established at the time the officers shot plaintiff. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment as to the section 1983 claims. The court also affirmed the district court's denial of public officers' immunity with respect to plaintiff's state law tort claims.