Wallace v. Cummings, No. 15-3279 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
After Carleton J. Wallace was fatally shot by a police officer, Wallace's estate filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against defendants, alleging excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court denied the officer summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, but granted summary judgment to the chief of police and the city. The officer appeals. The court concluded that, under the totality of the circumstances, the record does not establish that the officer's use of deadly force was reasonable as a matter of law. In this case, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the estate, Wallace did not pose an immediate and significant threat of serious injury to the officer or bystanders because he may not have committed any violent felony, the physical struggle was minimal, and he was not "holding a firearm" when he attempted to flee. Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the estate, a reasonable fact finder could thus conclude that the seizure violated a clearly established constitutional right. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.