Gysan v. Francisko, No. 19-1471 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Officer Francisko, checking hunters’ licenses, approached a van parked on the side of a road. Armed hunters had just emerged from the woods. The driver, Cataline, was acting strangely but handed Francisko his driver’s license. While Francisko was doing a license check, Cataline called 911 and said: “I am in a lot of trouble … I think I am going to be disappearing.” He then hung up. Francisko told Cataline that he was free to go. The 911 operator reached Officer Kuehl’s supervisor, who told him to stop Cataline to check whether he was fit to drive. The officers followed Cataline’s van, pulled it over, and asked Cataline to turn off the engine. He did not comply but stared straight ahead. After ignoring three requests, Cataline put the van into reverse, turned, and pointed the van west in the eastbound lanes of the Interstate. Cataline then made another turn and plowed the van into the side of Kuehl’s car. Kuehl and Francisko say that Kuehl was pinned behind the door. Francisko shot Cataline, who died at the scene. The district court granted the defendants summary judgment in a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Cataline’s behavior and the odd 911 call would have led an officer to be concerned that he posed a danger to himself and others. Francisko and Kuehl testified that they saw the van cross the white line on the highway several times. The stop was reasonable and compatible with the Fourth Amendment.