Ferguson v. McDonough, No. 20-2741 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Kenosha officers McDonough and Kinzer responded to a 911 call from an apartment building’s manager who reported that there was a woman inside Ferguson’s apartment who was “causing problems” and did not live there. McDonough spoke with Rupp-Kent who was alone inside Ferguson’s apartment and who reported that Ferguson had been violent with her. McDonough observed bruises on Rupp-Kent’s leg and neck and saw the knife Ferguson purportedly pointed at her. McDonough learned that Ferguson was on probation for robbery, had his driving privileges revoked, and drove a Chrysler. He reviewed Ferguson’s booking photo. McDonough, in his squad completing the paperwork, saw Ferguson drive past and followed. The parties dispute the events that occurred as McDonough attempted to arrest Ferguson. McDonough ultimately deployed his taser for five seconds.
Ferguson sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983. McDonough moved for summary judgment, asserting qualified immunity. The district court denied the motion, concluding that genuine issues of material fact remained for a jury to decide. The Seventh Circuit dismissed an appeal. McDonough and Ferguson offered competing accounts and the dashcam video of the incident did not conclusively support either party’s account. Under one version of the events, Ferguson was not resisting and a reasonable officer would have known that an officer’s substantial escalation of force in response to an individual’s passive resistance violated the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights against excessive force.