Cloud v. Stone, No. 20-30052 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
After a deputy sheriff tased, shot, and killed Joshua Cloud, his parents filed suit against the deputy sheriff, alleging excessive force. The district court granted summary judgment to the deputy sheriff after finding no constitutional violation.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed, concluding that the deputy sheriff had reasonable grounds to tase Cloud after Cloud continued to resist arrest. In this case, while the deputy sheriff tried to handcuff Cloud, Cloud partially turned around, took a confrontational stance, and deprived the deputy sheriff of the use of his handcuffs, thwarting efforts to complete the arrest. Furthermore, the deputy sheriff's continued force to complete the arrest, like the initial tase, was reasonable. The court also concluded that the deputy sheriff justifiably used deadly force when Cloud lunged for a revolver that had already discharged and struck the deputy sheriff in the chest. The court explained that at a minimum, the deputy sheriff knew that a loaded revolver lay on the ground behind and to his left; more than that, though, he knew that the gun had just discharged twice—once into his chest—and that he had had to wrest it from Cloud's hands and toss it away; and he saw Cloud make a sudden move in the gun's direction. Even drawing all inferences in plaintiff's favor, the record shows that Cloud was shot while moving toward the revolver and potentially seconds from reclaiming it. Because the court found no constitutional violation, it need not consider whether the deputy sheriff violated any clearly established law.