Orr v. Copeland, No. 16-50023 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Ahmede Bradley and Officer Eric Copeland were involved in a fight that ended with Copeland firing three shots at Bradley, killing him. Plaintiffs, Bradley's heirs, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that Copeland violated Bradley's Fourth Amendment rights, used excessive force, and used unlawful lethal force. Officer Copeland appealed the district court's denial of qualified immunity. The court held that the district court erred in holding that—in the absence of video evidence—eyewitness testimony should not be considered for summary judgment purposes until subject to cross examination. In this case, giving full weight to the undisputed eyewitness testimony, the court concluded that plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment argument is waived; Copeland’s conduct prior to the shooting was neither excessive nor unreasonable; and because plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a constitutional violation, the court held that they have failed to satisfy their burden of showing that Copeland is not entitled to qualified immunity. Accordingly, the court reversed and held that Copeland is entitled to qualified immunity.