Dooley v. Tharp, No. 15-3368 (8th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Michael Dooley's estate filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that a deputy sheriff used excessive force when he shot and killed Dooley. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment to the deputy, holding that the district court did not err in ruling that the deputy's use of deadly force was objectively reasonable as a matter of law. In this case, the deputy was responding to a potentially dangerous situation where Dooley was dressed in military uniform and carrying a rifle. Although new information came to light after the shooting that the rifle was actually a pellet gun, a reasonable officer in the deputy's position could believe that Dooley was pointing a gun at the deputies and that they were in serious risk of harm. Furthermore, the district court did not err by granting summary judgment for defendant on plaintiffs' state tort claims because the use of force was reasonable and permitted by law.