Edwards, Jr., et al. v. Byrd, et al., No. 13-1560 (8th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, pretrial detainees at a detention center, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against prison guards and the Sheriff, alleging a variety of constitutional violations. The court concluded that the district court correctly denied summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity where the record supported a claim of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The record also supported a claim for failure to protect plaintiffs from harm in violation of the Due Process Clause and the district court correctly denied the guards qualified immunity on this claim. Given the fact that the Sheriff was not at the detention center, he could not have used excessive force against plaintiffs, nor could he have an opportunity to intervene to prevent the guards from employing excessive force. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity with respect to the Sheriff. The court affirmed in all other respects.