Karels v. Storz, No. 17-2527 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to a police officer in an action brought by plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the officer used excessive force in violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. The court held that a jury could find that a reasonable officer in defendant's position would not have interpreted plaintiff's actions as noncompliance and would have known that plaintiff posed neither an immediate threat to anyone's safety nor a flight risk. The court also held that it was clearly established that an officer could not forcefully take down plaintiff -- who was a nonviolent, nonthreatening misdemeanant who was not actively resisting arrest or attempting to flee -- in the violent and uncontrolled manner that defendant did.