Church v. Anderson, No. 17-2077 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's adverse grant of summary judgment to plaintiff on his claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law. The district court granted summary judgment to defendant, finding that he was entitled to qualified immunity because his use of deadly force was justified under the circumstances. The district court relied on plaintiff's criminal conviction for assaulting defendant and on defendant's testimony.
The court rejected plaintiff's argument that the court should create an evidentiary presumption at the summary judgment stage against an officer who fails to use audio or video recording equipment that he has been issued; the court recognized the unique evidentiary problem of a case involving the use of force in which only one side can tell the story, but declined to adopt such a radical solution; and, even construing the record in plaintiff's favor, defendant's use of force was objectively reasonable where plaintiff posed an immediate threat to defendant's safety and was actively resisting arrest. Consequently, plaintiff's state law claims also failed.