Brewington v. Keener, No. 17-1382 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the county and to two sheriffs in an action brought by plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging the use of excessive force. In this case, plaintiff was stopped by law enforcement after he stole items from a local Walmart. Plaintiff was kicked by one of the officers without provocation and that officer resigned and was terminated the next day. That officer subsequently pleaded guilty to criminal charges.
The court held that plaintiff failed to prove the existence of an unconstitutional custom or policy; failed to show causation assuming there was such a custom or policy; and thus could not establish municipal liability. Therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment for the sheriffs in their official capacities. The court rejected plaintiff's failure to train claim and held that one of the sheriffs was entitled to qualified immunity. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in calculating attorneys' fees and costs.