McManemy v. Tierney, No. 18-3519 (8th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to officers in an 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging that the officers used excessive force against plaintiff after he led them on a high speed chase. In this case, the taser logs recorded that plaintiff was tased twice.
In regard to the first tasing, where defendant admitted that he was not yet handcuffed, the court held under its precedent that it is reasonable for an officer to tase an uncuffed suspect who appears to be resisting arrest. In regard to the second tasing, the court held that the use of the taser in drive-stun mode was reasonable under the circumstances where there was a "tumultuous" struggle between plaintiff and the deputies. Furthermore, it makes no difference if one of the officers knew that plaintiff had a preexisting shoulder condition that made it difficult for him to comply with their commands. Therefore, if Deputy Dolleslager did not violate plaintiff's constitutional rights, then neither did Deputy Lubben by failing to intervene. The court also held that Deputy Tierney did not violate a clearly established right where plaintiff alleged that the officer used his knee as a weapon, the officers argued that no one's knee touched plaintiff's head, and a dash-cam video is equivocal at best. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.
Court Description: [Stras, Author, with Benton and Grasz, Circuit Judges] Civil Case - Civil Rights - qualified immunity. After officers engaged in a high speed chase and rammed McManemy's car, McManemy emerged from the car and lay face down on the road. While attempting to arrest McManemy, officers tased him and bashed his head. McManemy brought federal and state claims of excessive force and failure to protect or intervene against the officers. The district court granted qualified immunity on the federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction on the state law claims. The evidence showed the two uses of the taser, the first use while McManemy resisted arrest was objectively reasonable, and, even if the second tase was after he was fully handcuffed, the use under the circumstance was objectively reasonable. Because there is no duty to prevent a constitutional use of reasonable force, the failure to intervene claim fails. As for any head injury, the law is not clearly established that the use of force causing McManemy's head injuries under the circumstances was excessive. As to The officers' cross appeal, the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Judge Grasz concurs in part and dissents in part.