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Assault and Battery: Handcuffs & Restraints

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for the Use of Handcuffs: Part I - Handcuffs as Excessive Force, 2008 (10) AELE Mo. L.J. 101.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for the Use of Handcuffs: Part II - Use of Force Against Handcuffed Persons, 2008 (11) AELE Mo. L.J. 101.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Force and the Fatigue Threshold: The Point of No Return, 2010 (6) AELE Mo. L. J. 501.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Teaching 4th Amendment Based Use-of-Force, 2012 (7) AELE Mo. L. J. 501.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: The Use of Electronic Control Weapons Against Handcuffed or Restrained Persons - Part 1, 2012 (9) AELE Mo. L. J. 101
     Monthly Law Journal Article: The Use of Electronic Control Weapons Against Handcuffed or Restrained Persons - Part 2, 2012 (10) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.

     A police officer came upon a car matching the description of a vehicle involved in a reported road rage incident which included the discharge of a gun. Conducting a “high-risk traffic stop,” he placed the car’s male occupant, a veteran and school teacher in his early 60’s, in handcuffs, detaining him until other officers could bring the alleged victim to that location. The victim identified the man and his vehicle as involved in the road rage incident, but the officers, finding no weapon, decided to release him. The stop lasted approximately 30 minutes, and the handcuffed man claimed that the officers’ treatment aggravated his preexisting shoulder condition, which required multiple surgeries. A federal appeals court reversed the trial court’s decision to deny the officer qualified immunity. The decision to place the plaintiff, then implicated in a serious crime involving the discharge of a weapon, in handcuffs and to keep him in handcuffs until satisfied that he was not a threat did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Howell v. Smith, #16-1988, 853 F.3d 892 (7th Cir. 2017).

     Two police officers were sent to a hotel in response to a phone tip that a man had come out of his room with a gun and threatened to shoot another resident's dog. The man claimed that he had been nowhere near the room where the incident had allegedly taken place, and tried to explain that to the officers who proceeded to arrest him. He claimed that he also told them that he had prior rotator cuff injuries and shoulder surgeries which precluded him from placing his hands behind his back, and that he repeatedly complained to them of his pain when he was handcuffed. In a lawsuit claiming excessive use of force, he stated that the officers ignored his complaints, aggravating his prior medical injuries. A federal appeals court upheld the rejection of qualified immunity for the officers. It held that if the facts were as the plaintiff alleged, the officers violated his clearly established rights. Courtright v. City of Battle Creek, #15-1722, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 18502, 2016 Fed. App. 256P (6th Cir.).
     A seven-year-old second grade student in a public school received special education services because of autism. One morning, he disrupted his class, ran away from the staff, kicked a social worker, and kicked and shot rubber bands at a school security officer. To protect the student and others, the security officer handcuffed the child to a chair. Before doing so, the officer called the child's mother, who granted her permission to restrain him, and repeatedly warned the child to calm down. The officer was aware of the child's disability. Afterwards, the child's parents sued the school system under the Americans with Disabilities Act, arguing that it denied the child a protected benefit of education and discriminated against him on the basis of disability. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendant, agreeing that the plaintiffs had failed to show disability discrimination either by showing denial of a protected benefit, the implementation of a policy that imposed a disparate impact on the disabled, or failing to act on a request for reasonable accommodation. J. V. v. Albuquerque Public Schools, #15-2071, 813 F.3d 1289 (10th Cir. 2016).
     An arrestee sued arresting officers for excessive force, based on his claim that they refused to accede to his request that he be handcuffed with his hands in front of him rather than behind him. He said that he had explained that he had recently undergone stomach surgery and therefore could not have his hands cuffed behind his back. A federal appeals court held that the defendant officers were entitled to qualified immunity because the plaintiff had no clearly established constitutional right to be cuffed with his hands in front of him. The officers were aware that the plaintiff had a serious and recent criminal history, they encountered resistance from him in making the arrest, and they did look at the site of his recent surgery and believed that using the standard handcuffing technique would not cause a new injury or exaggerate an existing one, especially as his scar was on his stomach. Most of the prior cases finding excessive force incident to handcuffing involved arrestees who had injuries to their shoulders or arms. Hunt v. Massi, #14-1379, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 23204 (1st Cir.).
     A man claimed that while he was in traffic court a deputy beckoned him to a group of officers, warning him not to "eyeball" them. When he objected that he was not doing so, an officer allegedly told him to shut up, and grabbed him. When he asked the officer to let go, he claimed, a number of officers handcuffed him, threw him against a wall, causing a nose bleed, threw him to the floor and twice deployed a Taser in the stun mode against him, before hog tying him and dragging him away. He was subsequently found guilty of disorderly conduct and refusal to submit to arrest. A federal appeals court overturned the dismissal of an excessive force claim. A finding of excessive force on the pat of the officers would not necessarily imply the invalidity of the criminal conviction fr disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, so that the conviction did not bar the civil rights claim. Colbert v. City of Monticello, #13-3037, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 24555 (8th Cir.).
     An arrestee stated a viable claim for excessive force. If, as he claimed, his head was slammed against the pavement with extreme force after he was handcuffed and was lying prone on the ground, the force used would have been excessive, disproportionate, and unnecessary. This would be the case even if he did lift his head off the hot pavement. Officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, as it was clearly established that a handcuffed, non-resisting arrestee had a right to be free from excessive force. Saunders v. Duke, #12-11401, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 17334 (11th Cir.).
     When two officers allegedly jerked a man up by his arms at a time when he was already handcuffed and under control, and did so with sufficient force to cause serious injury to his shoulder area, this claim, if true, violated clearly established law, so the officers were properly denied summary judgment. It was, however, reasonable for the officers to detain and handcuff the man, who was the roommate of a parolee whose home they were searching, since he was belligerent and refused to remain seated. Blazek v. Iowa City, #12-3785, 12-3786, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 15008 (8th Cir.).
     Police officers were entitled to qualified immunity on claims that handcuffing and removing from a school an eleven-year-old boy when there was concern about his behavior and welfare because he had not taken his medication was a violation of the Fourth Amendment. It was not and still is not clearly established that handcuffing and driving a juvenile from his school to a relative's place of business violated his rights. C. B. v. City of Sonora, #11-17454, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 18931 (9th Cir.).
     A Californis man claimed that sheriff's deputies unlawfully arrested him and beat him during the incident while he was handcuffed and not resisting arrest. He sued under a state statute authorizing damage claims "against anyone who interferes, or tries to do so, by threats, intimidation, or coercion, with an individual's exercise or enjoyment of rights secured by federal or state law," known as the Bane Act. The jury awarded damages on the plaintiff's claims totaling over half a million dollars, and $989,258 in attorneys' fees. A California intermediate appeals court upheld this result, rejecting an argument that the Bane Act required a showing that the "threats, intimidation, or coercion" caused a violation of a separate and distinct constitutional right in addition to a Fourth Amendment violation. The court ruled that Fourth Amendment rights are among those protected by the statute. Bender v. County of Los Angeles, #B236294, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 536.
     An arrestee sued a city, claiming that he had suffered a broken leg when an officer allegedly compelled him to sit down while he was restrained in handcuffs. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the city was entitled to summary judgment as it was immune from liability for acts of its employees performing police duties unless the officers acted in reckless disregard of the safety and well-being of any person not engaged in criminal activity at the time of the injury. Nothing showed that the officer acted in reckless disregard for the plaintiff's safety and well being. City of Jackson v. Gardner, #2012-IA-00517-SCT, 108 So.3d 927, 2013 Miss. Lexis 68.
     A woman claimed that county employees conspired with the father of her child, a sheriff's deputy, to obtain an invalid warrant lacking probable cause to search her house, to use excessive force during the execution of that warrant, and then to arrest her without probable cause. The unlawful search and false arrest claims were rejected, as there was probable cause to search her home and arrest her, based on allegations that she had fraudulently used the deputy's personal credit card to make purchases. However, as there was evidence that she did not pose a threat to officer safety and was not resisting arrest, her excessive force and conspiracy claims survived and should be decided by a jury. She claimed that the defendants pointed weapons at her, grabbed her by the arms and shoulders, and pushed her in the back down a hallway, before handcuffing her in an extremely tight manner. Cameron v. Craig, #11-55927, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 7563 (9th Cir.).
     A deaf man arrested in a domestic violence situation involving him and one of his deaf children stated a viable disability discrimination claim. He asserted that handcuffing him in the back prevented him from writing notes in order to communicate with the deputies. "The injury is the failure to make communication as effective as it would have been among deputies and persons without disabilities." The deputies were entitled to qualified immunity from liability, however, based on the exigent circumstances involved in a domestic violence situation. With the deputies concerned about their own safety and the safety of the man's family, it was reasonable to try to accommodate his disability by calling an American Sign Language trainee to assist in communication, and by attempting to use his father as an interpreter, even though those accommodations were not the best practices. Seremeth v. Board of County Commissioners Frederick County, #10-1711, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 5105 (4th Cir.).
     An officer arrived at the home to investigate complaints that a woman and her parents had taken unauthorized control of an elderly woman's property and care there. The officer confronts a caretaking woman outside the home, and asked her about the location of the elderly woman. When she refused to answer his question, and attempted to flee inside the house, he placed her under arrest for obstruction, grabbed her arm, and handcuffed her after a struggle. A federal appeals court rejects First Amendment and Fifth Amendment claims, ruling that there was no clearly established law that the woman had a right to refuse to answer the officer's questions during a Terry investigative stop. The officer was entitled to qualified immunity, as he could reasonably, under these circumstances, believe that her refusal to answer his question amounted to obstruction. The court also rejected a claim that the officer handcuffed the woman too tightly, finding that any injury was de minimis (minimal). Koch v. City of Del City, #10-6105, 660 F.3d 1228 (10th Cir. 2011).
     Officers who allegedly shoved one occupant of a residence and pointed assault rifles at all of them while executing search and arrest warrants were not entitled to qualified immunity on an excessive use of force claim. They allegedly used this force well beyond the time it took to arrest the suspect sought, who was taken into custody and removed almost immediately after the officers entered. The rifles were pointed at the plaintiffs while they were subdued and handcuffed in their rooms. The court found that no reasonable officer would have thought that such conduct was reasonable under the circumstances. They were, however, entitled to qualified immunity for keeping the arrested suspect's teenage sister and parents detained in handcuffs in the living room for approximately forty-five minutes to an hour after the arrest while they searched for weapons believed to be present. Mlodzinski v. Cormier, #10-1966, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 11117 (1st Cir.).
     After a pawn shop owner told police that a customer who previously sold him a fake watch was back trying to sell more of them, an officer arrived and almost immediately handcuffed him before asking him any questions. When the watches turned out to be genuine, he was released. The officer was not entitled to qualified immunity on a civil rights claim concerning the handcuffing. To apply handcuffs during an investigatory stop, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that such restraints are necessary for a legitimate purpose or that the suspect is armed and dangerous. It is "well established that if suspects are cooperative and officers have no objective concerns for safety, the officers may not use intrusive tactics such as handcuffing absent any extraordinary circumstances." El-Ghazzawy v. Berthiaume, #10-2058, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 5095 (8th Cir.).
     An officer had probable cause to arrest a man for forgery for allegedly trying to cash a fake money order, even though the money order ultimately proved to be genuine, when he was told by a local post office that the money order was fake. The officer, under these circumstances, was not required to attempt to verify with the out-of-town post office that issued the money order that it was genuine rather than fake. The officer was also not liable for requiring the arrestee, for a time, to stand outside in the cold in handcuffs that allegedly were too tight. Sow v. Fortville Police Department, #10-2188, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 2804 (7th Cir.).
     Deputies did not use excessive force in allegedly placing handcuffs too tightly on a burglary arrestee. It was objectively reasonable for them to finish their initial investigation and clear the area before addressing the arrestee's complaints about his handcuffs being too tight. They subsequently loosened them. The deputies also had probable cause to arrest him for burglary, having seen him carrying things out of a house they believed no one was permitted to enter, which he admitted entering through a window, defeating his false arrest claim. The arrestee's statement that he was the attorney for the co-administrator of the estate connected with the premises, even if true, did not end probable cause to detain him for investigation of a burglary. Beltran v. County of Los Angeles, #08-56007, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 22013 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
     National Guardsmen helping police officers with post-hurricane law enforcement stopped a motorist for speeding. He made three phone calls from the scene, one to police, to complain that Guardsmen had used a racial slur against him, one to his wife, an attorney, and one to his insurance company. His wife witnessed him being handcuffed when she arrived. A federal appeals court ruled that there was probable cause to stop the motorist, and that handcuffing him, without more, did not constitute an excessive use of force, even if they were allegedly adjusted too tight. Lockett v. City of New Orleans, #09-30712, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 9261 (5th Cir.).
    A motorist was stopped for speeding and then arrested on an outstanding warrant, over her protests that the record of the warrant was mistaken. The bench warrant for an alleged probation violation had, in fact, been requested to be recalled, but the court had not yet entered the order. The arrestee was then handcuffed and shackled to a wall at the county station for most of the twelve and one-half hours she spent in custody while waiting for city police to come get her. She claimed that she suffered various physical and mental injuries as a consequence. A diabetic, she was allegedly denied permission to get her insulin from her vehicle, and allegedly told that she would be fine without it for a day. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant officer on her excessive force claim arising from her handcuffing. The appeals court upheld this result, finding that the plaintiff, although an innocent and wronged party, failed to show that the arresting officer committed a due process violation. He was not to blame for the majority of her ordeal, as he had only been on duty for four and a half hours of the time she remained handcuffed. As to the appropriate legal standard under the Maryland state Constitution for excessive force claims for force used by officers on a person in custody following a valid arrest, the court ruled that it was whether the force used amounted to punishment, rather than whether the force used shocks the conscience. The actions of the county police indicated that they had no intention to punish the plaintiff. They thought that she would only be shackled for a short time, they offered her food and drink, and they permitted her to use the bathroom. Smith v. Bortner, #2667, 2010 Md. App. Lexis 112.
     While claims that officers illegally entered an arrestee's home, tampered with evidence, and illegally interrogated him for ten hours were rejected, as an award of damages on them would imply the invalidity of his conviction, which had not been set aside, he could still pursue an excessive force claim against officers based on the manner of his handcuffing during questioning. A finding that the force used in doing so was excessive would not necessarily imply the invalidity of the plaintiff's conviction, since no such claim was made in his motion to suppress evidence in his criminal trial, so the issue was not previously litigated. Flood v. Schaefer, #09-1390, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4566 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
     A police officer was not entitled to qualified immunity from liability for excessive force after entering a suspect's home, since it was clearly established that hitting a "neutralized suspect" who is handcuffed is objectively unreasonable. The officer acted reasonably, however, in entering the home when he was responding to a 911 call from the man's neighbor reporting that he was yelling at his daughter, and that the daughter might be "getting beat." The officer encountered the father as a man irate and out of control, shouting profanities at him when he merely tried to determine whether the daughter was ok. Schreiber v. Moe, #09-1337 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4537 (6th Cir.).
      A woman seized following a domestic disturbance claimed that an officer refused to loosen her handcuffs when she complained that they were too tight, and pushed her face into the ground after she was already subdued and handcuffed. The officer was not entitled to qualified immunity in an excessive force lawsuit, as the Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to unduly tight handcuffs was clearly established, and the officer admitted that the detainee had complained of their tightness and that he disregarded the complaint. Bruising, skin marks, and the pain the detainee claimed created a genuine factual issue as to whether she suffered an injury during the 40 to 50 minutes she was handcuffed. Morrison v. Board of Trustees of Green Township, #08-3051, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 22159 (6th Cir.).
     An arrestee who experienced a dislocated shoulder during an arrest sued police officers, claiming that they used excessive force. When he complied with the officers' orders to lay face down on the ground and let them handcuff him behind his back, he allegedly told an officer of a prior right shoulder injury, requesting that he be picked up by the left arm. If true, this established that the officers could be found to have used excessive force in picking him up using his pre-existing injured arm, which they had no justification for, allegedly causing a dislocated shoulder. Claims against the officer who picked up the arrestee were reinstated. Jones v. Garcia, #08-1968, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21801 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
     After a man mistakenly shot himself twice, his wife summoned police to provide assistance. He claimed that, despite the seriousness of the gunshot wounds to his bicep and stomach, the officers handcuffed him in a painful manner that aggravated his injuries. Rejecting summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity for the officers, a federal appeals court found that the additional injuries that allegedly were caused by the officers' actions, and the manner in which they applied the handcuffs despite knowledge of the man's gunshot injuries, were sufficiently serious to support a possible constitutional claim for excessive force. Fisher v. City of Las Cruces, #07-2294, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 22825 (10th Cir.).
     Police stopped a vehicle after money was seen flying out because an occupant had left his billfold on top of the car when leaving a gas station. The occupants, then suspected of a non-existent bank robbery, were required to kneel down. They asked for their car door to be closed so that their dog would not run out, but officers allegedly refused their request, and the dog was shot in the head when he came out of the car. A trial court did not err in refusing to grant the officers qualified immunity, as it was a question for the jury to decide if the officers used excessive force under the circumstances. The appeals court upheld a jury verdict for the plaintiffs. A reasonable officer would have known that it was an excessive use of force to slam a man to the ground while he was handcuffed and held by two officers, when he rose up reacting to his dog being shot. Smoak v. Hall, #08-5442, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 19978 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
     Officers acted reasonably with respect to the force used while handcuffing an arrestee. While he contended that their actions had caused him shoulder injuries, the court noted that he refused to put his hands behind his back, and merely explained that he thought it would "hurt." He did not tell the officers about any purported infirmities or pre-existing injury that could be aggravated by handcuffing. The officers, in quickly pulling his hands behind him in order to accomplish the handcuffing, did not act in a manner that could be expected to "clearly injure" typical arrestees. Stainback v. Dixon, #08-3563, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 14115 (7th Cir.).
     A corporal smashed a car's windshield while lunging at it when it failed to turn at a roadblock as directed. The car rolled the corporal, who then forcibly handcuffed and arrested the motorist. In an excessive force lawsuit brought by the motorist, the corporal was entitled to qualified immunity. The court found that the forcible handcuffing was justified by the motorist's actions, which interfered with an officer's performance of his duty. The court also stated that even if the corporal violated the motorist's rights by breaking his windshield, any right involved was not clearly established. Claims against the county were rejected because the county did not set policy for the sheriff's department, as well as claims against the sheriff's department, based on the facts. Vandewalle v. Moffa, #3:07-CV-400, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 19303 (N.D. Ind.).
     Arrestee failed to show that a deputy used excessive force in handcuffing him. While the arrestee informed the deputy that he had a right shoulder injury before he was handcuffed, an officer is not required to believe everything an arrestee says, especially when it is said while the officer is in the process of applying the handcuffs. Additionally, the deputy did readjust the handcuffs five minutes after the arrestee expressed his discomfort. The court also rejected a claim for "negligent use" of excessive force, noting that Florida courts had found such a claim to be an "oxymoron." Secondo v. Campbell, #08-14983, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 7726 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
     In a criminal appeal, an intermediate California appeals court finds that police officer did not have a sufficient basis to handcuff a motorist whose truck they stopped in a high gang, high narcotics area, and whose passenger had admitted that she was carrying drugs. The court rejected the argument that an officer's concern about the motorist's height, which was 6'6", and fears for safety in light of the fact that those involved in drugs may carry weapons justified the handcuffing. The court found that the handcuffing was not reasonably necessary for the investigative detention, that the motorist's subsequent consent to a search was coerced, and that drugs subsequently found on the motorist should be suppressed. People v. Stier, #D051505, 168 Cal. App. 4th 21 (4th Dist. 2008).
     To establish liability for excessive force in the use of handcuffs, a detainee must establish both that police applied the handcuffs unnecessarily tightly, and that they ignored his complaints that the cuffs were too tight. In this case, an officer was not shown to have violated the plaintiff's rights, as the handcuffs were removed in response to the plaintiff's complaints. The defendant officer was not, however, entitled to qualified immunity on the plaintiff's claim that he used excessive force while "cramming" him into the back seat of the patrol vehicle. Vance v. Wade, #07-5930, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 23952 (6th Cir.).
     Officer was not entitled to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity on arrestee's claim that he suffered injuries when he was handcuffed behind his back, despite an allegedly obvious and severe medical condition resulting from ten surgeries to his body, which he informed the officer about. The arrestee claimed that the officer took only a "cursory" glance at the surgery site and his injury, made a "sarcastic" remark and continued to handcuff him behind his back despite a request that he be handcuffed in front. If true, this could violate the arrestee's constitutional rights, and further proceedings were required to resolve factual disputes. Dixon v. Donald, No. 07-5587, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 19188 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
     Federal appeals court upholds multiple uses of Taser against handcuffed motorist arrested on highway who refused to comply with instructions to stand up and walk to deputy's car. A deputy made an arrest of a motorist during a traffic stop at night on a highway in a location where there was passing traffic. He contended that he had to use force, including multiple applications of a Taser, to accomplish the arrest, due to the motorist's resistance. The arrestee, described in the court decision as "financially destitute and homeless," allegedly became "agitated" about getting a ticket, and, despite the deputy's repeated requests that he do so, refused to sign the traffic citation, which is required by Florida law. The deputy warned him twice that, if he did not sign, he would be arrested, and the motorist then said, "arrest me," and allowed himself to be handcuffed. He then got out of his car. As the deputy walked towards his patrol car with the arrestee, the arrestee, a 23-year-old man who was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 180 pounds, allegedly dropped to the ground behind his car, crossed his legs, and continued sobbing, refusing to get up and walk. When the deputy warned him of the possibility of getting hit by a passing car on the highway, the arrestee allegedly said, "My life would be better if I was dead." A federal appeals court overturned the trial court's denial of the deputy's motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. The appeals court found that the deputy only used the Taser after first trying other approaches such as persuading the motorist to stop his resistance, attempting to lift him, and warning him repeatedly that the Taser would be used against him and then providing him with time to comply. The motorist, at the time, was handcuffed, but refused to stand up and go to the deputy's car, according to the court. The court reasoned that the presence of passing traffic created a possible hazard of injury, and that the Taser did not cause significant injuries such as burns requiring medical attention. Under the circumstances, the court concluded, the use of the Taser, which was used three times, was reasonable and moderate non-lethal force. The court also noted that, while the arrestee was handcuffed at the time, his feet were not bound, and he was moving. The court stated that the "Plaintiff resisted arrest. Given this circumstance in the context of all the other facts, Deputy Rackard’s gradual use of force, culminating with his repeated (but limited) use of a taser, to move Plaintiff to the patrol car was not unconstitutionally excessive. In addition, even if Plaintiff could establish that some of the deputy’s use of force violated the Fourth Amendment, the deputy still would be entitled to qualified immunity because the applicable law at the time did not clearly establish that the deputy’s conduct -- given the circumstances -- was unconstitutional." The court also stated that: "We do not sit in judgment to determine whether an officer made the best or a good or even a bad decision in the manner of carrying out an arrest. ... "The government has an interest in arrests being completed efficiently and without waste of limited resources: police time and energy that may be needed elsewhere at any moment. ... We also reject the district court’s rationale that had Deputy Rackard simply waited for back up, two officers could have lifted [Plaintiff] and carried him to the car without any application of force. A single officer in the deputy’s situation confronting a non-compliant arrestee like Plaintiff need not -- as a matter of federal constitutional law -- wait idly for backup to arrive to complete an otherwise lawful arrest that the officer has started. ... That an officer has requested more police assistance does not make the use of force before reinforcements arrive unreasonable." A strong dissent in the case stated that "I write to express my view that the Fourth Amendment forbids an officer from discharging repeated bursts of electricity into an already handcuffed misdemeanant—who is sitting still beside a rural road and unwilling to move—simply to goad him into standing up." Buckley v. Haddock, No. 07-10988, 2008 WL 4140297, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 19482 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
     A motorist's lawsuit claiming that a city police officer used excessive force against him during a traffic stop should be stayed under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 362, a magistrate judge recommended, because the city employing the officers filed for bankruptcy protection, so that any judgment for damages could impact the bankruptcy estate's property. Additionally, the magistrate recommended denial of the officers' motion for summary judgment as there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether an officer used excessive force against the motorist, handcuffing him, dislocating his finger, kicking him, knocking him to the ground, jumping on him, and hitting him, after which other officers allegedly joined in the beating, actions that the officers disputed. Garfield v. Kenney, No.CIV S-07-0100, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 71791 (E.D. Cal.).
     Officers were on notice, based on prior cases finding "compression asphyxia," that keeping a person who was in a state of "excited delirium" restrained with his or her chest to the ground while applying pressure to the back and ignoring pleas that the subject could not breathe constituted excessive force under the Fourth Amendment. They were therefore not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit alleging that they caused a man's death by restraint or positional asphyxiation by keeping him prone and handcuffed while in an agitated state, suffocating him under their weight. Arce v. Blackwell, No. 06-17302, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20162 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
   Motorist's statement that he had consumed "one beer three hours ago" was sufficient to provide officers with reasonable suspicion to conduct field sobriety tests, or entitle her to qualified immunity for doing so. Qualified immunity was denied, however, on a claim that the officers used excessive force in unduly tightening the arrestee's handcuffs. Vondrak v. City of Las Cruces, No. 07-2148, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 16543 (10th Cir.).
     A search warrant presented to the occupant of a building was not invalid simply because the copy shown to him lacked the signature of the issuing judge. The court found that the original of the warrant was properly signed and issued, and was supported by probable cause. The court also found that it was legitimate for officers to detain the building occupant while conducting their search, which was occasioned by his employment of a suspect, even though the search did not involve a quest to find contraband. The court also rejected the occupant's argument that excessive force, which injured his wrists, was used in handcuffing him and detaining him in a squad car during the search. Housley v. City of Edina, No. 07-1330, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 3799 (8th Cir.).
     Police officers did not use excessive force against woman detained on suspicion of shoplifting or in allegedly pushing her into a wall. She was only handcuffed for five minutes, the court noted, and any marks on her wrists from the handcuffs vanished within a day. Further, the push against the wall did not leave any mark or wound. Segura v. Jones, No. 07-1013, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 29231 (10th Cir.).
     Police did not act in an objectively unreasonable manner by handcuffing a 78-year-old motorist with his arms behind his back, despite his claim that it was painful for him to place his arms there. The motorist had rear-ended an officer-s vehicle stopped at an intersection.a vehicle stopped at an intersection. The officers took the extra precaution of handcuffing him in this manner because of the plaintiff's intoxication and resulting unpredictability, and forced his arm behind his back only after he twice refused to obey a command to put it there. Marvin v. City of Taylor, No. 06-2008, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 27950 (6th Cir.).
     Police officer acted reasonably in handcuffing arrestee behind his back even though he claimed to have told the officer that he recently had back surgery. The court found that the arrestee did not show any objective indication of injury which would inform the officer that handcuffing him in this manner might aggravate pre-existing injuries. Additionally, the arrestee failed, following the handcuffing, to complain to the officer about back pain or discomfort. Minor v. City of Chesterfield, Mo., No. 4:05CV00586, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 39990 (E.D. Mo.).
     Arrestee's excessive force claim, based on allegation that her handcuffs were applied too tightly, was not meritorious when her only injury was bruising on her wrists and arms. Leaving her in a patrol car for, at most, 30 to 45 minutes with tight handcuffs was not excessive force. Deputies did not, however, have probable cause to arrest the plaintiff for interference with their duties or hindering apprehension, if the facts were as the arrestee claimed, so that they were not entitled to summary judgment on her false arrest claim. Freeman v. Gore, No. 05-41684, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 7604 (5th Cir.).
     Red marks which arrestee had on his hands from handcuffs he claimed were too tight did not constitute a significant injury to support a claim for excessive use of force. Cortez v. McCauley, No. 04-2062, 478 F.3d 1108 (10th Cir. 2007).
     Arrestee's claim that officers handcuffed him too tightly, by itself, was insufficient to assert a valid claim for excessive use of force. Photos of his arms that the plaintiff presented showed only minor red marks, and may have shown a modest amount of swelling. These injuries were too minimal to support a constitutional claim. Montes v. Ransom, No. 05-11206, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 3837 (5th Cir.).[N/R]
     Arrestee failed to show that an officer used excessive force against her in handcuffing her, and the failure to show that any officer violated her rights barred any claim against the city for alleged inadequate training as to how to handcuff disabled arrestees. The record in the case also showed that the county's policies regarding the booking/fingerprinting procedures for disabled arrestees was adequate. Calvi v. Knox County, No. 06-1843, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 30276 (1st Cir.). [N/R]
     Police officer was not entitled to qualified immunity on claim that he used excessive force against arrestee by slapping him, but was entitled to qualified immunity on a claim that he used excessive force by making the handcuffs too tight. The officer himself did not justify the slap by a need to protect himself or others, or subdue the arrestee, but rather stated that it was administered because of the arrestee's "smart mouth." Nothing in the record, however, indicated that the arrestee had complained about the handcuffs being overly tight. Pigram v. Chaudoin, No. 05-6660, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 25073 (6th Cir.). [N/R]
     Deputy did not use excessive force in restraining and handcuffing man being arrested on domestic battery charges, even though his actions led to an injury to the arrestee, when the man resisted and the incident took place in a crowd at the state fairgrounds in an atmosphere of "hostility" with crowbars and hammers readily available. Kenyon v. Edwards, No. 05-3487, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 22737 (8th Cir.). [2006 LR Nov]
     Mississippi police officer did not act in a reckless manner in failing to adjust handcuffs on an arrestee who complained that the cuffs were too tight. He could not, therefore, be held liable for the arrestee's subsequent injuries under state law. Bradley v. McAllister, No. 2004-CA-01657, 929 So. 2d 377 (Miss. App. 2006). [N/R]
     Detective did not use excessive force in applying handcuffs to detainee when the detainee failed to complain that they were too tight. Robbins v. Lappin, No. 05-2569, 170 Fed. Appx. 962 (7th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     Keeping an eleven-year-old unarmed boy in handcuffs for 15 minutes, and pointing a gun at his head, while search and arrest warrants were served on his parents' home, if true, could be found to be an excessive use of force. Federal agents were not entitled to qualified immunity. Tekle v. U.S., No. 04-55026, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 20583 (9th Cir.). [2006 LR Oct]
     Officer's alleged over-tightening of arrestee's handcuffs did not constitute excessive force when the arrestee failed to complain that they were too tight at the time, and no physical injury occurred. Liiv v. City of Coeur D'alene, No. 03-35821, 130 Fed. Appx. 848 (9th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Police officer whose improper application of handcuffs to arrested 16-year-old allegedly caused a 1.3% permanent impairment was not entitled to a directed verdict in an excessive force lawsuit. Plaintiff was properly awarded $153,000 in damages and $51,692.15 in attorneys' fees. Hanig v. Lee, No. 04-2758, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 14436 (8th Cir.). [2005 LR Sep]
     While police officer had adequate probable cause to arrest motorist for reckless driving after observing her going 76 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone, genuine issues as to whether he improperly used excessive force against her after she was handcuffed, jerking her up by the handcuffs in a manner severe enough to cause a disabling injury, barred summary judgment for him in her federal civil rights lawsuit. Polk v. Hopkins, #04-1130, 129 Fed. Appx. 285 (6th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Officers did not use excessive force in the course of handcuffing a motorist arrested for a non-violent traffic offense, even though she had a reverse shoulder prosthesis in her shoulder, and suffered a broken humerus when her hands were handcuffed behind her back. Evidence showed that the arrestee smelled of alcohol, refused to take field sobriety tests, was "combative" during her handcuffing and detention, and failed to inform the officers of the prosthesis until after the handcuffing process had begun. Schultz v. Hall, No. 3:04CV242, 365 F. Supp. 2d 1218 (N.D. Fla. 2005). [N/R]
     Officers acted reasonably in handcuffing and detaining a minor girl even if they were aware of her mental disability of Down's Syndrome, when she had failed to comply with their instructions and had produced a gun from her pocket in the course of their investigation of someone knocking on doors in the neighborhood while possibly holding a gun. Further, she was only detained for approximately four and one-half minutes and handcuffed for one and one-half minutes. Tenorio v. City of Hobbs, No. 04-2103, 113 Fed. Appx. 879 (10th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Officer whose attempt to handcuff woman being arrested for trespass in movie theater and assaulting an officer resulted in a broken arm was not entitled to qualified immunity from her excessive force claim. Solomon v. Auburn Hills Police Dept., No. 03-1707 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 23786 (6th Cir. 2004). [2005 LR Feb]
     Deputy acted in an objectively reasonable manner in putting his foot on an arrestee's face when he raised his head as he lay on the ground being handcuffed after disobeying orders to immediately drop his shotgun. The arrestee was "not docile," and subsequently was found to possess another gun on his person. Crosby v. Monroe County, No. 03-13716, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 26973 (11th Cir. 2004). [2005 LR Feb]
     While an arrestee's claim that officers used excessive force against him after handcuffing him could move forward, based on genuine issues of fact as to what happened, and whether officers were entitled to qualified immunity from liability, the plaintiff failed to make any showing that an official policy or custom of the city or its police department led to his injuries. Claims for municipal liability, therefore, were properly rejected. Arrestee's testimony in a deposition that he "might" have been yelling and waving his arms, and making a fist at the officers as he approached them, and his admission that he reached for one officer's gun belt and touched it, warranted summary judgment for the defendant officers on his claims that they also used excessive force against him prior to handcuffing him. Ross v. City of Toppenish, No. 03-35234, 104 Fed. Appx. 26 (9th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Arresting officers were not entitled to qualified immunity from arrestee's claim that they used excessive force in insisting on handcuffing her with her hands behind her back despite the fact that she was unarmed, was not resisting arrest and had allegedly informed them that she had a disability stemming from having undergone shoulder fusion preventing her from placing her hands behind her back to be handcuffed. The arrest was for loitering for purposes of prostitution. Court finds that reasonable officers should have known that it was unreasonable to proceed with forcibly handcuffing her under these circumstances without further inquiry into her disabling condition. Rex v. City of Milwaukee, 321 F. Supp. 2d 1008 (E.D. Wis. 2004). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court finds that trial judge, in granting qualified immunity to deputy on dentist's claim that he was arrested without probable cause, and wrongfully subjected to handcuffing so tight that the injuries required him to leave his profession, improperly acted "as a jury" in choosing to believe deputy's version of the incident rather than the plaintiff's. Court also finds that it is "well-established" law that overly tight handcuffing can constitute excessive force. Wall v. County of Orange, #02-56032, 364 F.3d 1107 (9th Cir. 2004). [2004 LR Jul]
     Deputy sheriff acted in good faith entitling him to official immunity under Texas state law on claims for injury asserted by mental patient he restrained and handcuffed for purposes of transport to mental health facility. Hidalgo County v. Gonzalez, No. 13-03-00131-CV, 128 S.W.3d 788 (Tex. App. --Corpus Christi--2004). [N/R]
     Police officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of mental patient they placed in wrist and ankle restraints at the request of mental health facility staff members. Patient's history of violent outbursts and mental conditions made the action reasonable. Officers were also entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly leaving patient in restraints when they left, after being told by staff that patient was about to be escorted to another facility. Lucero v. City of Albuquerque, No. 02-2280, 77 Fed Appx. 470 (10th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Officer was improperly granted summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity on claim that he used excessive force in the course of handcuffing suspect arrested under "rather benign circumstances," when a reasonable officer would know that this violates the Fourth Amendment. Kopec v. Tate, No. 02-4188, 361 F.3d 772 (3d Cir. 2004). [2004 LR May]
     Arrestee's claim that his wrists were "sore," although uninjured, following his allegedly tight handcuffing, was not objectively sufficient for a federal civil rights claim for excessive use of force. Wilder v. Village of Amityville, 288 F. Supp. 2d 341 (E.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
     Claim that deputy sheriff "violently handcuffed" arrestee, causing physical injury, and that there was no justification for his action, was sufficient to state a claim for excessive use of force. Mladek v. Day, 293 F. Supp. 3d 1297 (M.D. Ga. 2003). [N/R]
     Surgeon awarded $33 million in damages for permanent nerve damage to hand, resulting in inability to perform surgery unassisted, following tight handcuffing when detained by Los Angeles police who mistakenly believed that the rental car he was driving was stolen. Police department responsible for $14.2 million of award, with rental car firm which placed license plates on car which were reported stolen to pay $18.8 million. Gousse v. City of Los Angeles, No. BC252804, Superior Court of Los Angeles County, filed June 21, 2001, jury award, November 19, 2003. Reported in the Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2003. [2004 LR Jan]
     Use of hog-tie restraint against arrestee who had a head wound and had been sprayed with pepper spray, and was also allegedly compliant at the time of the restraint, was an excessive use of force, and officers were not entitled to qualified immunity from possible liability for arrestee's subsequent death from positional asphyxia. There was also evidence to show that county officers widely used hog-tie restraints but that no training in the use of such restraints was provided. Garrett v. Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, 246 F. Supp. 2d 1262 (M.D. Ga. 2003). [2003 LR Jul]
     Officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on a claim that they kept two apartment occupants handcuffed for two hours while their apartment was being searched under a warrant. The complaint alleged that they were kept handcuffed long after the officers had reason to believe that they were not connected with persons sought in connection with a shooting. Seaman v. Karr, #27935-5-II, 59 P.3d 701 (Wash. App. 2002). [N/R]
     Arrestee, who was "thoroughly uncooperative" and allegedly intoxicated, did not have a "clearly established" Fourth Amendment right not to be tightly handcuffed, since various federal trial and appeals courts disagreed on the issue. Istvanik v. Rogge, #01-3395, 50 Fed. Appx. 533 (3rd Cir. 2002). [2003 LR Mar]
     Medical records did not support arrestee's claim that highway patrol officer used excessive force in handcuffing him following arrest for failure to produce driver's license. Arrestee claimed that handcuffs were so tight that his hands turned "blue," but medical records indicated a "pink" color to his hands on the night of the arrest. Andrews v. Elkins, 227 F. Supp. 2d 488 (M.D.N.C. 2002). [N/R]
     Officer's alleged delay in loosening handcuffs for approximately ten minutes after arrestee complained that they were too tight, even if true, did not violate the arrestee's clearly established rights, so that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity from liability. Kopec v. Tate, 230 F. Supp. 2d 619 (E.D. Pa. 2002). [N/R]
     City could not be held responsible for arrestee's injuries from officer's alleged excessive use of force while arresting and handcuffing motorist when officer's actions, if they occurred, would have clearly violated the city's policies and training that officers received regarding the use of force. The possibility that the officer was not taught a particular procedure for taking a handcuffed suspect to the ground did not alter the result, particularly when there was no evidence of other similar incidents. Nelson v. City of Wichita, 217 F. Supp. 2d 1179 (D. Kan. 2002). [2003 LR Feb.]
     Deputy sheriff's alleged action in handcuffing an arrestee "too tightly" and refusing to loosen the handcuffs after learning that the arrestee had preexisting arm and shoulder injuries would have violated clearly established law. Turek v. Saluga, #01-3986, 01-4018, 47 Fed. Appx. 746 (6th Cir. 2002). [2003 LR Jan]
     Mere fact that an arrestee was handcuffed did not mean that police officer acted excessively in using any amount of force. Officer was justified in using more force than would ordinarily be necessary based on arrestee's active resistance and the location of the incident in which the officer was alone at night on a "lonely stretch of country road." Youngblood v. Wood, #01-3109, 41 Fed. Appx. 894 (7th Cir. 2002).[2002 LR Dec]
     Arresting officer did not use excessive force in handcuffing arrestee despite his claim that his arm was injured. Officer "need not credit everything a suspect tells him," and arrestee displayed no obvious signs of physical injury. Rodriguez v. Farrell, #00-13147, 294 F.3d 1276 (11th Cir. 2002). [2002 LR Oct]
     Defendant officers were not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of whether they used excessive force in handcuffing a suspect and carrying him to a vehicle, but their use of a four-point restraint to tie his arms and legs together when he continued to resist efforts to control him did not constitute excessive use of force. Tobias v. County of Putnam, 191 F. Supp. 2d 364 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). [N/R]
     City held liable by jury for $1 million for death of disabled detainee who fell face forward on the sidewalk after officers took away his cane and handcuffed him behind his back when he allegedly became verbally resistant to them. The officers argued that the decedent had fallen without warning and that he may have died of acute alcohol intoxication, or suffered a seizure or black out which caused him to fall. Eady v. City of Los Angeles, No. TC 014-169 (Los Angeles Co., Calif. Superior Court, May 8, 2002), reported in The National Law Journal, p. B3 (July 22, 2002). [N/R]
     A genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether officers should have known, objectively, that they were putting the handcuffs on a detained person so tightly that they would cut into her skin and cause permanent damage, but officers' subsequent use of force to push detainee to her knees and place her in restraints at a hospital where she was involuntarily admitted was not excessive. Threlkeld v. White Castle Systems, Inc., 201 F. Supp. 2d 834 (N.D. Ill. 2002). [N/R]
     Officers' use of handcuffs during an investigatory stop of a suspect who fled from officers in a high crime area where there had recently been a shooting of a police officer by an individual with a machine gun and who had made a motion as though he were carrying a weapon was not an excessive use of force. Officers' display of their weapons during the stop was also justified. Mearday v. City of Chicago, 196 F. Supp. 2d 700 (N.D. Ill. 2002). [N/R]
     Arrestee was entitled to a new trial in his excessive force lawsuit against the arresting officer when jury was wrongly instructed that it must find that the arrestee suffered a "serious injury" to find for the plaintiff. Bastien v. Goddard, No. 00-2224, 279 F.3d 10 (1st Cir. 2002). [2002 LR Jun]
     Arrestee did not succeed in showing that officer used excessive force in the application of handcuffs during the arrest. Under the evidence presented, it was reasonable for officers to conclude that their suggestion of leaning forward in the police car had relieved the arrestee's pain, and his complaints were "similar to those normally voiced by others who are similarly restrained." Ostrander v. State of New York, 735 N.Y.S.2d 163 (A.D. 2001). [N/R]
           347:163 Seventh-grade student handcuffed by police officer in principal's office after he allegedly attacked principal and stepped on officer's foot could not recover damages for "excessive force" in the absence of physical injury from the handcuffing; officer and principal were entitled to qualified immunity. Neague v. Cynkar, No. 99- 4533, 258 F.3d 504 (6th Cir. 2001).
     343:99 Overly tight application of handcuffs on a nonviolent detainee may be excessive use of force, in the absence of any indication that detainee would resist or attempt to flee. Kostrzewa v. City of Troy, #00-1037, 247 F.3d 633 (6th Cir. 2001).
     EDITOR'S NOTE: See also: Soares v. Connecticut, 8 F.3d 917 (2nd Cir. 1993) (refusing to hold that handcuffing is per se reasonable).
     343:99 Woman arrested following physical altercation with her daughter was not subjected to excessive force merely because of "handcuffing too tightly"; officers' conduct did not amount to disability discrimination just because arrestee suffered from multiple sclerosis. Glenn v. City of Tyler, #00-40133, 242 F.3d 307 (5th Cir. 2001).
     341:68 Officer acted objectively reasonably in handcuffing motorist who eluded capture for thirty-to-forty minutes; motorist's alleged injuries from handcuffing were not significant enough to support an inference of excessive force. Krider v. Marshall, 118 F. Supp. 2d 704 (S.D.W.Va. 2000).
     [N/R] Trial court erred in preventing jury from hearing testimony from officer that the technique he used in handcuffing an arrestee was in accordance with official department policy. LaLonde v. County of Riverside, No. 98- 55887, 204 F.3d 947 (9th Cir. 2000).
     326:21 Louisiana trial court properly awarded $90,000 lump amount (to be reduced by 1/3 for plaintiff's degree of fault) to motorist allegedly injured by "too tight" handcuffing after he attempted to leave the scene while officer was writing traffic tickets; state Supreme Court rules, however, that motorist was not entitled to an additional $89,600 for psychiatric expenses, since therapy concerned many matters, such as his marriage and father's death. Bryan v. City of New Orleans, No. 98-1263, 737 So. 2d 696 (La. 1999).
     Injuries to an arrestee, including a bloody lip, a red mark and swelling on the leg, and pain resulting from overly-restrictive handcuffs was insufficient to predicate liability. Hamilton v. Broomfield, #95 Civ. 3241, 1998 WL 17697 ( S.D.N.Y.). {N/R}
     317:68 Handcuffing of 9-year-old girl taken into custody for throwing acorns at apartment window did not constitute an assault or excessive use of force; minor was not injured and purpose of handcuffing her was protective. Brach v. McGeeney, 123 Md. App. 330, 718 A.2d 631 (1998).
     317:67 City could not be held liable for inadequate training or supervision concerning arrests for disorderly conduct or proper use of handcuffs when plaintiff failed to show a record of prior incidents which would indicate deliberate indifference to a known problem. Gold v. City of Miami, #96-5395, 151 F.3d 1346 (11th Cir. 1998).
     315:35 County policy of handcuffing all arrestees was "inherently reasonable" in light of possible risks of not doing so; handcuffing arrestee suffering from asthma was not excessive force. Limbert v. Twin Falls County, 955 P.2d 1123 (Idaho App. 1998).
     Placing leg shackles on arrestee was not unreasonable despite her statement that she had a "problem" with her leg. Lear v. Township of Piscataway, 566 A.2d 557 (NJ Super AD 1989).
     Officers sued for handcuffing arrestee so tightly that his wrists bled Lake v. Katter, 693 F.2d 677 (7th Cir. 1982).
     Missouri court upholds officer's right to handcuff non resisting arrestee Healy v. City of Brentwood, 649 S.W.2d 916 (Mo App. 1983).
     Deputy sheriff liable for $15,000 for using excessive force when he handcuffed persons with little justification for making an arrest Bauer, v. Norris, 713 F.2d 408 (8th Cir. 1983).
     City could be liable for method of handcuffing arrestees in paddy wagons causing injuries; city could also be liable if it had a policy of covering up police misconduct Brown v. City of Chicago, 573 F.Supp. 1375 (N.D.Ill. 1983).
     No liability for death of arrestee who died of asphyxiation after being cradle cuffed Vizbaras v. Prieber, 761 F.2d 1013 (4th Cir. 1985).


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