Tucker v. City of Shreveport, No. 19-30247 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against police officers and the City of Shreveport, alleging that members of the police department used excessive force in effecting plaintiff's arrest. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that the police officers' conduct—forcing him to the ground and then beating him in order to place him in handcuffs—violated his rights protected by federal and state constitutional law, as well as Louisiana tort law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the officers in their official capacities on all claims and denied summary judgment as to all of plaintiff's claims against the City, as well as his section 1983 and Louisiana law claims against the officers in their individual capacities. The officers appealed.
The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded, concluding that the district court erred in concluding that factual issues preclude application of qualified immunity as to plaintiff's claims against the officers in their individual capacities. In this case, the facts and circumstances in their entirety created a scenario sufficiently "tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving" to place the officers' takedown of plaintiff, even if mistaken, within the protected "hazy order between excessive and acceptable force," established by then-existing Fourth Amendment excessive force jurisprudence. Furthermore, the district court erred in not granting summary judgment in the officers' favor relative to the force used against plaintiff while he was on the ground.