Roque v. Harvel, No. 20-50277 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
After a police officer shot and killed Jason Roque, a suicidal man experiencing a mental-health crisis, Roque's parents filed suit against the officer, alleging excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment, concluding that there are factual disputes regarding whether the officer's second and third shots were excessive and objectively unreasonable. In this case, the factual disputes relate to whether a reasonable officer would have known that Jason was incapacitated after the first shot. The court also concluded that precedent shows that by 2017, it was clearly established—and possibly even obvious—that an officer violates the Fourth Amendment if he shoots an unarmed, incapacitated suspect who is moving away from everyone present at the scene. Therefore, if the factual disputes are resolved in plaintiffs' favor, the officer is not entitled to qualified immunity.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on April 2, 2021.