Sun. Jun 9th, 2024

Williams v. City of Burlington, No. 21-1450 (8th Cir. 2022)

Williams v. City of Burlington – 4th Amendment – Immunity Fail

Opinion Summary

The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of qualified immunity to a police officer in an action brought by Marquis Jones’s estate, alleging claims under state and federal law after a police officer shot and killed Jones while he was running away from a traffic stop. In this case, the court agreed with the district court that there are two genuine disputes of material fact for the jury: first, whether the officer saw Jones drop the gun when he ordered him to; and second, whether the officer was unreasonable in believing Jones was taking a firing position rather than surrendering. The court stated that, if, construing the evidence most favorably to the estate, the officer knew Jones was unarmed, then shooting him violated a clearly established constitutional right.

Court Description: [Benton, Author, with Kelly and Erickson, Circuit Judges] Civil case – Civil rights. In a police shooting case, the district court did not err in denying the defendant officer’s motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity, as there were two genuine issues of material facts – whether the office saw the victim drop the gun when ordered to and whether the officer was unreasonable in believing the victim was taking a firing position rather than surrendering when the office shot him.

Primary Holding

The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of qualified immunity to a police officer in an action brought by Marquis Jones’s estate, alleging claims under state and federal law after a police officer shot and killed Jones while he was running away from a traffic stop.

 

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