Salazar-Limon v. City of Houston, No. 15-20237 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that Officer Thompson of the Houston Police Department (HPD) applied excessive force and unreasonable deadly force during his arrest, causing plaintiff to be partially paralyzed. Plaintiff also alleged a claim under Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, against the City of Houston based on the same conduct and injuries. The court affirmed the district court's grant of qualified immunity to Officer Thompson in his individual capacity. The court concluded that, based on the totality of the circumstances - including plaintiff's resistance, intoxication, disregard for the officer's orders, the threat he and the other three men in his truck posed while unrestrained, and his actions leading up to the shooting (including reaching for his waistband) - it is clear that it was not unreasonable for an officer in Officer Thompson’s position to perceive plaintiff's actions to be an immediate threat to his safety. Therefore, it was not “clearly excessive” or “unreasonable” for Officer Thompson to use deadly force in the manner he did to protect himself in such circumstances. Because plaintiff has not shown a violation of his constitutional rights, all of his Monell claims against the City of Houston fail as a matter of law.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 16, 2016.