AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel
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Public Protection: Intoxicated Persons
Monthly Law Journal
Protection: Intoxicated Persons, Part 1, 2013 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Public Protection: Intoxicated Persons, Part 2, 2013 (4) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
A police officer
arrived at an apartment building in response to a complaint about minors
drinking outdoors there. A minor white female drinking with a group of
three African-American males, was so intoxicated that she could not stand
up by herself, so one of them had to hold her up from behind. The officer
arrived and talked to the males, allowing them to leave with the female
without asking for identification. One of the males was on probation for
armed robbery and the other two males were minors. The three males then
carried the female to a laundry room, and the apartment site manager again
called police. Officers arrived and caught the probationer sexually assaulting
the girl in the laundry room. In a failure to protect lawsuit, a federal
appeals court found that the officer had not created the danger to the
girl or done anything to make it worse. He was entitled to qualified immunity
from liability. The court also rejected arguments that the officer was
a racist who wanted the girl to come to harm because she as white and socializing
with African-Americans. The plaintiff's reference to another incident in
which the officer while operating an unmarked police car, ran over and
killed an eight-year-old African-American boy and lied to cover it up was
not similar to the immediate incident, and any connection was speculative.
Doe v. Vill. of Arlington Heights, #14-1461, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 5972
A man asked officers to give him a ride to his sister's house in the next county because he was intoxicated. Instead, they left him at an isolated off-ramp at the county line, which was at the edge of their jurisdiction. They told him to seek help at a factory nearby, but he went a half mile in the opposite direction in the freezing cold and died of hypothermia. The officers were properly granted qualified immunity on a failure to protect due process claim. The man accepted a ride from the officers and was sober enough to rationally make that decision. There was no custodial relationship. Claims against the police department failed as there was no evidence that it was a departmental custom to give rides to persons in its jurisdiction and there was no affirmative duty of care. Arkansas state law wrongful death and related claims were also properly dismissed. Gladden, Jr. v. Richbourg, #12-3918, 759 F.3d 960 (8th Cir.).
Deputy sheriffs did not violate an apparently intoxicated individual's rights by detaining him and transporting him to the hospital, despite having no reason to suspect that he committed any crime. Under the deputies' "community caretaking" function, they were justified in detaining him when he was found walking along a roadway in a rural area in the winter without proper winter clothing. Additionally, they were justified in assisting, at the hospital, with his involuntary catheterization, when they were merely helping medical personnel to carry out health care decisions to which they did not assist in making. Tinius v. Carroll County Sheriff Department, 321 F. Supp. 2d 1064 (N.D. Iowa 2004). [N/R]
Police officers were entitled to qualified immunity on a claim that they violated the due process rights of a motorcyclist by ordering him to ride his bike away from a restaurant premises despite his allegedly intoxicated condition at the time. The officers exercised their discretion in good faith in making a determination as to the degree of his impairment at the time, and therefore were not liable for his subsequent death. Morris v. Johnson, No. A03A0111, 585 S.E.2d 375 (Ga. App. 2003). [N/R]
Officers were not responsible for intoxicated arrestee's death from drowning while trying to escape on the basis of their own failure to rescue him or their alleged prevention of bystanders' rescue efforts. Officers were entitled to qualified immunity, as no reasonable officer could believe that these actions violated the arrestee's clearly established rights. Hermann v. Cook, 240 F. Supp. 2d 626 (W.D. Ky. 2003). [2003 LR Jun]
Officers did not violate a detainee's Fourth Amendment rights when they extended their investigation because of concerns that he was intoxicated and might be a threat to himself or others. Failure to do so, indeed, might have made the officers derelict in their "community caretaking function." Winters v. Adams, #00-3061, 254 F.3d 758 (8th Cir. 2001). [2002 LR Apr]
343:107 Police officer was not liable for failure to provide transportation to intoxicated man found on the street who subsequently was attacked, robbed, beaten and thrown over the side of a bridge by several individuals. Lane v. City of Kinston, No. COA00-265, 544 S.E.2d 810 (N.C. App. 2001).
342:91 Federal appeals court reinstates claims against officers and city based on officers ejection of intoxicated bar patron into subfreezing temperatures outside wearing only jeans and a tee shirt; officers' actions placed patron in a position of enhanced danger, so there might be liability for man's death from hypothermia; inadequate training claim also reinstated. Munger v. City of Glasgo Police Dept., No. 98-36090, 227 F.3d 1082 (9th Cir. 2000).
326:28 Aggressive campaign of seizing allegedly intoxicated individuals and taking them to detoxification facility for treatment evaluation without probable cause that they were dangerous to themselves or others violated Fourth Amendment. Anaya v. Crossroads Managed Care Systems, Inc., #97-1358, 195 F.3d 584 (10th Cir. 1999).
334:156 Officer who stopped intoxicated motorist was not liable for her injuries in subsequent accident she suffered after he failed to arrest her; officer's actions did not increase the danger to her, since she was already driving under the influence of alcohol. Wyatt v. Krzysiak, 82 F.Supp. 2d 250 (D. Del. 1999).
319:108 Police officer might face possible liability for taking motorist into custody and charging him with driving while intoxicated a second time after tests for intoxication proved negative; officer may have intended to assist motorist by taking him to jail since he was unable to pay for a hotel room and might not have been able to care for himself, but officer failed to follow state mandated procedures for protective custody. Qian v. Kautz, #97-3295, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 2295 (7th Cir.).
314:28 Officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit by highly intoxicated man who they released near a police station in freezing weather wearing inadequate clothing; plaintiff's conduct may have indicated that he was in no condition to take care of himself. Riordan v. City of Joliet, 3 F.Supp. 2d 889 (N.D. Ill. 1998).
310:158 Officers could face liability for injuries intoxicated man taken into custody suffered when they released him at night at side of busy highway, following which he was struck by car. Davis v. Brady, 143 F.3d 1021 (6th Cir. 1998).
294:93 Federal appeals court adopts "state-created danger" doctrine as a basis for officer and municipal civil rights liability based on argument that intoxicated woman, separated from her husband by officers, detained briefly and then let go to continue home alone would have reached home safely but for officers' actions, but instead collapsed in her drunken condition in the freezing weather Kneipp v. Tedder, 95 F.3d 1199 (3rd Cir. 1996).
295:109 Officer was not liable for intoxicated man's death from being struck by cab while walking in the street ninety minutes after officer dropped him off at a gas station to phone for a ride home Stevens, Estate of, v. City of Green Bay, 105 F.3d 1169 (7th Cir. 1997).
297:140 Oregon Supreme Court rules that statute mandating officers to provide help to intoxicated persons who appear to be a danger to themselves or others imposes a duty to do so; lawsuit reinstated on claim that officers allowed visibly intoxicated woman who had threatened harm to herself and others to leave police station, after which she wandered into traffic and was killed by a car Scovill v. City of Astoria, 324 Or 159, 921 P.2d 1312 (1996).
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