Henderson v. City of Woodbury, No. 17-1385 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Henderson, a 19-year-old black man, was attending a party at a Woodbury, Minnesota Red Roof Inn. Without warning, another young black male, Ballinger, pulled a gun, robbed the other guests, including Mark, and held them hostage. A woman called 911 and then hid her phone. Though the caller was unable to speak with the operator, the operator kept the line open and listened; the operator discerned an apparent confrontation between someone with a gun and another person with a knife. The person with the gun (Ballinger) demanded that the person with the knife (Henderson) give it up. The dispatcher alerted police. During the response, which involved Henderson trying to escape the hotel room while Ballinger fired shots, Henderson was shot by three officers who fired 17 rounds while he was lying on the ground. Henderson died. The district court rejected, on summary judgment, claims by his estate under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Eighth Circuit reversed. The resolution of the conflicting testimony between one officer's more or less contemporaneous statement to investigators and all of the officers' subsequent unified deposition testimony should be left to a jury; the district court erred in finding the defendants entitled to qualified immunity.