AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel
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Public Protection: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons
Monthly Law Journal
Persons -- Part One,
2012 (2) AELE Mo. L. J. 101
Monthly Law Journal Article: Disturbed/Suicidal Persons -- Part Two, 2012 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Public Protection: Part Two The Mentally Ill or Deranged, 2013 (6) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
Monthly Law Joural Article: Police Accommodation of Mentally Impaired Persons Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (Part One), 2015 (9) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
Monthly Law Joural Article: Police Accommodation of Mentally Impaired Persons Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (Part Two), 2015 (10) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Detention for Mental Health Evaluation or Commitment, 2017 (1) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
Police responding to a report of suicidal man armed with a knife came into a residence. The man did not drop the knife in response to commands and stepped forward, but was holding the small kitchen knife loosely near his side. One officer shot him and a second officer fired a Taser in the dart mode at him. The lawsuit alleged that the use of deadly force was excessive and in violation of clearly established law on two theories--the first that the officer shot him without probable cause to believe that he posed a threat of serious physical harm to the officers or any other person, and the second that the officers recklessly created the situation that led to the use of deadly force. The federal appeals court, upholding a denial of summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity to the officer, found that the evidence would support a finding of a violation of clearly established rights under the first theory, and therefore declined to discuss the second theory. When the man was shot, according to his version of events, he was not charging the officers, had made no aggressive moves, was not within walking distance of the officers, ad the plaintiff had not been given sufficient time to comply with an order to drop the knife. The opinion des not discuss whether the use of the Taser was reasonable under these circumstances. Tenorio v. Pitzer, #14-2114, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 17540 (10th Cir.).
Allegations that two officers shot and severely injured a 17-year-old when he was holding a gun to his own head, and not pointing it at the officers as they claimed, if true, would constitute excessive force. Based on this dispute of material fact, a federal appeals court dismissed the appeal of the denial of qualified immunity on the excessive force claim for lack of jurisdiction. The appeals court also upheld the trial court's refusal to dismiss a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim that after the incident an officer intentionally fabricated evidence to cover up his colleagues' actions and get the teenager falsely charged with aggravated assault on the officers. Cole v. Hunter, #14-10228, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 17011 (5th Cir.).
A married couple argued on their wedding anniversary. The husband then went to the garage, drank half of a bottle of vodka, and put a shotgun barrel in his mouth, although he was unable to pull the trigger. The wife called 911 and the deputy who responded shot the man four times. The suicidal man was injured but survived. The deputy was not entitled to qualified immunity, as he kicked in the door within three minutes of arriving, and made no attempt to communicate with the man before entering, so he lacked a reasonable belief that the man posed a threat. Weinmann v. McClone, #14-1794, 787 F.3d 444 (7th Cir. 2015).
A girl's high school boyfriend told an employee at school that she had tried to kill herself. The employee called the police and an officer was sent to the home where the girl was staying, detaining her until a sheriff's deputy arrived and took her, over her objections, to a hospital where she was subjected to a mental health examination. The deputy allegedly falsely said that he had a copy of a prior physician's medical examination, which had not actually taken place, and wrote that the boyfriend had personally told him about the alleged suicide attempt, a statement the boyfriend denied making. Both the officer and the deputy allegedly ignored statements by the girl's father contradicting the suicide report, as well as the girl's calm demeanor. A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that the officer had probable cause for his actions, but reversed a grant of qualified immunity for the deputy, holding that if the facts were as claimed, he would have overstepped the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment y taking the girl to the hospital and then making false statements that caused her more prolonged detention. Bruce v. Guernsey, #14-1352, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 1184 (7th Cir.).
Riding home from a bar with his aunt and her boyfriend, a man talked about killing himself. When the car got to his apartment, he jumped out, ran inside, and locked the door. His aunt called 911 to report a possible suicide. Multiple officers arrived, heard the apartment door crash open and observed the suicidal man holding a shotgun in one and with his aunt holding his other arm. The ordered him to drop the gun, and the aunt fell, freeing his other arm. The officers stated that the man chambered a round and aimed the gun at them before they fired, hitting him in the eye, forearm, hands, groin, hip, and shin. A live round was found in the shotgun's chamber and the man was convicted of terrorizing. The aunt claimed that her nephew had been putting the shotgun down when the officers opened fire on him. Reversing a trial court denial of qualified immunity to the officers on an excessive force claim, a federal appeals court reasoned that, while it was possible that the officers were mistaken about the man aiming the gun at them, their mistake was objectively reasonable under the circumstances. Partlow v. Stadler, #14-1281, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 24131 (8th Cir.).
A deputy sheriff shot and killed a man in his home, entering without a warrant while responding to a 911 call that the man was sitting in his truck threatening to commit suicide. He had been holding a loaded gun to his head. It was not a Fourth Amendment violation to enter the home, as the deputy had an objectively reasonable belief that the decedent would imminently injure himself. The deputy was entitled to qualified immunity on excessive force claims, since the decedent was arrmed and moving toward him. The deputy fired believing it necessary to protect himself and others. Claims against the sheriff were also rejected, as was a claim to collect accidental death benefits under a life insirance policy, as there was ample evidence that the death was not accidental. Rice v. Reliastar Life Ins. Co, #13-30639, 770 F.3d 1122 (5th Cir. 2014).
The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico has been ordered to pay over $6 million for the death of a schizophrenic man shot and punched by officers in his backyard. The trial judge ruled that the officers were not acting in self-defense when they shot the man in the back at close range while serving an arrest warrant arising out of a carjacking case. Police said that the man tried to punch one of the officers and grabbed his gun during an altercation in the back yard. The trial judge stated that the officers failed to present their arrest warrant during the confrontation and also failed to contact a Crisis Intervention Team officer or the man's family before confronting him. The court found that the two police detectives engaged in an "unnecessary escalation of events," and that their own "aggressive acts" at the home created the "unnecessarily dangerous situation" in which the man was shot to death. Torres v. Albuquerque Police Dept., #D-202-CV-2011-06551, Second Judicial District, County of Bernalillo, New Mexico (June 10, 2014).
A woman suffering from a mental illness and resisting officers' attempts to take her to a mental health facility claimed that the officers violated her rights by entering her residence without a warrant and shooting her five or six times when she threatened them with a knife. The officers were justified in the initial entry into the home under the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement because they had an objectively reasonable belief that she was in need of assistance. There were, however, triable issues of fact as to whether the officers violated the Fourth Amendment in forcing a second entry and thereby allegedly provoking a near fatal confrontation, leading to an unnecessary use of deadly force that could have been avoided. The appeals court also held that federal disability discrimination statutes apply to arrests, and that there was a triable issue as to whether the officers failed to reasonably accommodate her disability when they forced their way into her room, arguably failing to take her mental illness into account or to utilize generally accepted law enforcement practices for peacefully resolving such a confrontation with a mentally ill person. Sheehan v. City and County of San Francisco, #11-16401, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 3321 (9th Cir.).
Sheriff's deputies were not entitled to qualified immunity for fatally shooting a 64-year-old homeowner on the patio of his residence while responding to a domestic disturbance call. While he was armed with a gun at the time, the plaintiff, claimed that the decedent had not objectively provoked the officers, was walking with the use of his walker at the time, and had his gun trained on the ground. If a jury believed the plaintiff's version of the incident, it could find that the use of deadly force was unreasonable and that the decedent had not posed an immediate threat to the officer's safety. George v. Morris, #11-55956, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 15579 (9th Cir.).
Officers arrived at a man's home after his mother called 911 to report that he was having a psychotic episode and had attacked a family member. The officers were told that he might have a knife or a screwdriver. He was uncooperative with orders to lie down. A struggle ensued, during which officers claimed that he reached under a pillow and pulled out a knife that he swung at an officer. An officer fired six shots from his gun, hitting him several times. In a lawsuit, the man denied attacking officers with a knife. A federal appeals court found that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity on disability discrimination claims as there was no clearly established law that the officers had a duty to accommodate the arrestee's disability of schizophrenia while trying to secure him and take him into custody. The officer who fired the shots, however, was not entitled to qualified immunity, as there was a disputed issue of fact as to whether the arrestee at that time posed an objectively reasonable threat of violence towards the officers. The court rejected a failure to train claim against the city. Roberts v. City of Omaha, #12-3426, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 15624 (8th Cir.).
Two officers were entitled to qualified immunity on an excessive force claim and public officer immunity on a North Carolina state law claim. One officer acted in an objectively reasonable manner in firing a Taser in the dart mode, after a warning, and activating it three times, and then pepper-spraying an arrestee who posed an immediate safety threat and resisted arrest. His crime of property destruction of an address sign was more than a minor crime. Before the force was used, the plaintiff had approached the officer three times, ignoring orders to get back, while saying "Sir, I have lost my mind." A second officer's action in activating his Taser three times in dart mode while the arrestee lay prone and unarmed on the ground while an officer sitting on his back in control was not clearly established as unlawful, as the plaintiff was not then "effectively secured." The Taser was also used several times in the stun mode before the arrestee was fully handcuffed. Two other officer were properly denied immunity on both federal and state claims when they allegedly punched and struck the arrestee because he did not pose an immediate safety threat and was not resisting, and they inflicted severe injury. All officers who were bystanders to the incident were granted qualified immunity as they did not have a reasonable time in which to intervene to prevent harm. Thomas v. Holly, #12-2076, 2013 WL 3722350, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 14437 (4th Cir.).
A combat veteran who suffered from PTSD lost touch with reality. He believed that armed men were coming to his street and threatening his family. In response, while carrying a rifle, he broke windows on neighbors' houses and went around in a threatening manner. He drove his van into one of the police cars that arrived in response. A struggle ensued after he exited his vehicle, during which the man was Tasered in the dart mode and stun mode multiple times and bitten twice by a police dog. The trial court found that the plaintiff had failed to present any evidence that would permit a reasonable jury to conclude that excessive force was used against him or was used against him after he was fully subdued. It was clear that he was resisting arrest, and his own version of events was of little value as he "admittedly has little recollection of the events." Ziolkowski v. City of Taylor, #12-10395, 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 107355 (E.D. Mich.).
A federal appeals court upheld a jury verdict in favor of a city and its officers in a lawsuit over the shooting and killing of a suicidal cocaine intoxicated man armed with a powerful gun with a long range. Negotiations by an emergency response team sent to his apartment failed to persuade him to drop his weapon or come out, and the use of tear gas had been justified to try and subdue him because it was believed that he posed an imminent threat to others in the area. Given that the room was dark and filled with tear gas, and that the officers' accounts differed as to how far his arm was extended when an officer shot and killed him, the fact that he had not previously verbally threatened others during the standoff did not establish that he had not pointed his gun at officers as they entered. Estate of Escobedo v. Martin, #11-2426, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 25443 (7th Cir.).
Police received a 911 call reporting that a 15-year-old girl had made statements indicating that she planned to kill herself by taking ibuprofen pills. Three officers and emergency medical personnel went to the girl's home where the girl admitted to the statements but said she had changed her mind. An officer told her she had to go to the hospital, and while the girl's parents first disagreed, they relented after the officer said they could be charged with assisted manslaughter if their daughter then killed herself. The girl's mother first refused to accompany her daughter to the hospital, but then did so, later suing for false arrest based on a claim that the officer had insisted that she accompany her daughter. In a false arrest lawsuit brought by the girl's mother, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity as the mother was not seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment. There was no indication that the officer displayed a weapon, physically touched the mother, or intimidated her with a threatening presence to compel her to go. James v. City of Wilkes Barre, #11-3345, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 24592 (3rd Cir.).
A bipolar woman who had ceased taking her medication was arrested for disruptive actions at an airport. She allegedly received no medical attention while detained, and was released in a high-crime area of town where she was first raped and then either pushed or fell out of a high-rise building, causing her to suffer permanent brain damage. While there is no general right to have police protection against the criminal acts of third parties, police can be liable for damage if they create or enhance the danger of such crimes. While the woman had no due process right to be kept in custody for her protection, it was "clearly established that the police may not create a danger, without justification, by arresting someone in a safe place and releasing her in a hazardous one while unable to protect herself." A number of individual defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity for their role in the woman's release in a dangerous area or failure to provide her with medical care while in custody. The court stated that they might as well have released her into the lion's den at the Brookfield Zoo, since she is white and well off while the local population is predominantly black and not affluent, causing her to stand out as a person unfamiliar with the environment and thus a potential target for crime. Paine v. Cason, #101487, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 8450 (7th Cir.).
Police took a man into custody in response to his parents' report that he might be a danger to himself or others. They intended to transport him to a mental health facility. During a search of his person, they found his wallet, but failed to discover a razor blade concealed within it, letting him retain possession of the wallet. While being transported in their squad car, the man used the razor blade to kill himself. Rejecting a claim that the officers acted with deliberate indifference to the decedent's risk of suicide, a federal appeals court noted that the officers acted with compassion and a desire to protect him as evidenced by the very fact that they searched him and inspected the contents of his wallets, albeit imperfectly. Rosario v. Brawn, #11-2072, 670 F.3d 816 (7th Cir. 2012).
A teenager was discovered at home by his mother. holding a knife to his abdomen. He had made a suicide attempt approximately a month before. Police respond to a 911 call. The youth challenged officers to "fucking shoot me." An officer shot and killed him as he ignored orders to drop the knife, instead advancing on the officer while raising the knife in a threatening manner. The use of deadly force was justified. Elizondo v. Green, #1011177, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 2917 (5th Cir.).
Police responded to a 911 call concerning a schizophrenic, bipolar, and suicidal man who had stopped taking his medication and was threatening to harm his mother. The officers weren't liable for shooting and killing him when he came towards them armed with knives as they entered his locked and barricaded bedroom. They acted in reasonable self-defense, and they were entitled to qualified immunity on their warrantless entry into the bedroom based on their belief that there were exigent circumstances justifying their entry because the man constituted a threat to himself. Rockwell v. Brown, #1011053, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 24980 (5th Cir.).
Police responded to a 911 call concerning an intoxicated man threatening to kill himself with a pocket knife. He ignored their orders to drop the knife, instead holding it to his throat. The officers used a beanbag shot gun to subdue and disarm him. When he stepped away, and moved towards his parents' house, they shot and killed him. A federal appeals court ruled that the use of the beanbag shotgun may have been excessive, noting that the officers had the option of using the less extreme force of a Taser, but did not do so. The court stated that it was not aware of any published cases holding it reasonable to use a significant amount of force to try to stop someone from attempting suicide." The subsequent gunfire may also have been excessive. Summary judgment for the defendants was reversed, and further proceedings were ordered on the excessive force claims. Glenn v. Washington County, #10-35636, 661 F.3d 460 (9th Cir. 2011).
An excessive force claim against a police chief lacked merit where he was not involved in the removal of an allegedly suicidal man from his parked car by force, including the firing of pepper balls at him. He also was not in a supervisory role over those who removed the man, who were members of an inter-departmental emergency response team. Backes v. Village of Peoria Heights, #10-3748, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 22652 (7th Cir.).
Police could not be held liable for the successful suicide of a detainee who killed himself fourteen hours after they released him, despite having heard his threats at the police station, following his one-car accident, to kill himself. The court ruled that there had been no due process violation, in the absence of "a risk of harm created or intensified by state action." His release from police custody placed him in no worse a position than he would have been in had the officers not acted at all. Coscia v. Town of Pembroke, MA, #10-1714, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 18933 (1st Cir.).
A deputy acted within his discretionary authority by briefly removing an allegedly suicidal woman from her home to speak with her and observe her to see if there were grounds for taking her into custody for evaluation. After doing so, he let her go, finding no such grounds. He was entitled to qualified immunity in her civil rights lawsuit, as his conduct did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Roberts v. Spielman, #10-13820, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 11995 (11th Cir.)
Police officers struggled with a screaming uncontrollable man suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia running around his house naked. Following a violent struggle, they eventually subdued and restrained him in a "hobble"a cord that is looped around a suspect's lower legs and then connected to a strap that is attached to handcuffs. A few minutes after he was hobbled, he stopped breathing. The officers removed the hobble, attempted CPR, and called for an ambulance, but he never regained consciousness, and died. A federal civil rights lawsuit by his estate claimed that officers inadequately responded to his medical needs during his arrest, and that the city failed to properly train the officers on the use of the hobble. Affirming summary judgment for the defendants, a federal appeals court ruled that the officers began CPR and called paramedics as soon as they realized the man was not breathing, satisfying a Fourth Amendment reasonableness standard, and that the officers did not violate the man's Fourth Amendment rights by the manner in which they used the hobble, so the city could not be held liable for failing to properly train them. Sallenger v. City of Springfield, #08-3769, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25803 (7th Cir.).
A woman's disturbed son, who had murdered his wife years ago, stopped taking his medication, obtained a gun, and threatened to kidnap certain family members. Officers seeking to have him committed went to his apartment, and his mother tried to get him to come out, but instead he started shooting. The plan of extraction developed by a police investigator had involved the mother knocking on the front door while officers remained in front of the house, but out of sight of the son. Both the mother and her son were shot and killed during the ensuing gun battle. The decedents' estates and family members sued, claiming that the officers were responsible for the deaths under a "state-created danger" theory of liability. The officers were entitled to qualified immunity because the state-created danger theory was not clearly established in the 5th Circuit at the time of the incident. Judgment was also entered for the city, as the plaintiffs did not successfully create an issue of fact as to whether the city's review of the officers' conduct violated department rules in a manner that rose to the level of "ratification" so that the city would be liable for the officers' conduct. Saenz v. City of McAllen, #09-41072, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20464 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Officers did not violate a man's Fourth Amendment rights in handcuffing a man, searching his van, luggage, and apartment, and taking him to a hospital, where he voluntarily was hospitalized for treatment, after they received information from a hot line operator stating that the man had stated that he was suicidal, possessed weapons at his residence, and that he "could understand" why people would shoot others at work. The officers spoke to a co-worker to determine that the threats should be taken seriously, and there were exigent circumstances justifying the warrantless actions taken to both determine the scope of the threat and to defuse it. Under these circumstances, seizing the man's weapons was justified, and the continued retention of the weapons by police was not a due process violation when the man subsequently failed to follow available state law procedures to get his property returned. Mora v. City of Gaithersburg, No. 06-2158, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4561 (4th Cir.).
Police officer did not act unreasonably in detaining a man and taking him to a state hospital for mental evaluation after he pointed a finger in the officer's face during a conversation about his claim that government officials had been harassing him. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with "psychotic disorder--not otherwise specified." His statements indicated that he would follow police and try to "get to the bottom" of the purported attacks on him showed that there was a substantial risk that he would engage in dangerous and irrational behavior and that he was mentally ill. Nothing that the officer did was "shocking" to the conscience or violated his rights. He also did not produce any evidence that the officer gave false information about him to hospital personnel. Simon v. Cook, No. 06-6514, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2381 (6th Cir.).
In a lawsuit over the suicide of an arrestee who shot himself in the backseat after obtaining a deputy sheriff's gun left on the front passenger seat of the deputy's vehicle, there was no evidence that the deputy was deliberately indifferent to a known risk of harm. Gish v. Thomas, No. 07-12368, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2494 (11th Cir.).
Officer did not violate the rights of a woman with bipolar disorder by handcuffing her arms behind her back and using leg irons to cuff her to a grate in a cell after taking her into custody for protective reasons because she indicated that she might engage in self mutilation. The officer's actions did not shock the conscience since she was only restrained after she threatened her own safety and had shown that having her hands cuffed behind her back was an inadequate form of restraint. The restraints were only applied until the woman could be taken to a medical facility. Norris v. Engles, 06-3394, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 18838 (8th Cir.).
Alabama deputy sheriff acted reasonably in shooting and killing a mentally unstable man who took possession of a marked sheriff's cruiser when he was informed that he was going to be arrested, and began backing away. The deputy who shot him warned that he would be shot if he did not stop his escape. The decedent could have used to car to injure or kill someone, especially since it cloaked him with the "apparent authority' of a police officer. Long v. Slaton, No. 06-14439, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 26573 (11th Cir.).
Deputies did not act unreasonably in shooting and killing a mentally disturbed man who posed a threat of serious physical harm. The man had placed a large sign in his front yard that said, "no police you be shot." The suspect came out of his mobile home holding something the officers believed to be a handgun and took a kneeling stance that was believed to be a shooting position, pointing it in the direction of an officer. The suspect responded to commands to drop the object by yelling, "Shoot me, Shoot me." The suspect was subsequently shot and killed as he was charging towards the officers. Summerland v. County of Livingston, No. 06-1975, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21045 (6th Cir.).
Police officers did not violate a man's rights by using pepper spray on him in the back seat of their car, where they placed him after finding him intoxicated. The officers feared that he was suicidal, based on his behavior, and were trying to assist him. He was unsecured in the backseat of the car because he was uncooperative, and he started kicking the plexiglass separating the front and backseats, and beating his head on it. The pepper spray was only used after it was clear that repeated orders would not cause him to stop this behavior, and after the man was given a warning about the use of the spray, and was motivated by a fear that the man might harm himself. After they cleaned the residue of the pepper spray off of his face outside the police/fire station, he attempted to stand up, despite their statements that he should not try to do so, and fell, hitting his head and suffering injuries that allegedly led to his death from a swelling on his brain. The court found that the decedent would not have suffered his fatal fall except for his own conduct in disregarding the warnings of the defendant officers, so that they could not be held liable for his death. Cabaniss v. City of Riverside, No. 06-3546, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 8271 (6th Cir.).
Police officer who failed to detain allegedly disturbed woman when he did not observe her engaging in any behavior presenting a danger to herself or others was not liable for her death the following day when she was shot and killed by several officers during a confrontation. While the decedent's family claimed that he had stated that the woman had, earlier in the day, run down the street with her clothes off and screaming that she was on fire, and later had to be preventing from jumping out of a window, the officer did not observe such behavior. When a jury found that the officer acted with gross negligence, but not willful misconduct, the officer was entitled to immunity from liability under a Pennsylvania state statute. Riley v. Paugouzas, No. 959, 2007 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. Lexis 108 (Civil Trial Div.).
In a lawsuit over the death of a mentally impaired man holding a screwdriver, who three officers shot and killed, the trial court properly denied summary judgment to the officers, based on the existence of factual disputes about whether the decedent had posed an immediate threat to the officers when he was shot. The appeals court found, further, that the trial court had committed an error in considering the actions of all three of the officers together, and that it should, on remand, consider each of the officers' actions by themselves to determine whether any of them had used unreasonable force. Meadours v. Ermel, No. 05-20764, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 7592 (5th Cir.).
Estate of paranoid schizophrenic shot and killed by police who came to his house in response to a 911 call from his family requesting assistance failed to show that more adequate training as to how to respond to incidents involving mentally disturbed persons would have resulted in a different result. The court found that the officers did not create the dangerous situation. Thao v. City of St. Paul, No. 06-2339, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 7553 (8th Cir.).
Police officers had probable cause to detain an allegedly suicidal paraplegic woman as well as exigent circumstances justifying their warrantless entry into her home to seize her without a warrant, based on statements that her 12-year-old son made to a 911 operator that she was "going crazy," and "trying to kill herself." Officers could not be held liable for violation of her federal civil rights even if their actions arguably did not comply with all provisions of an Oklahoma state statute dealing with emergency detention of mentally ill persons. West v. Keef, No. 05-6353, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 5846 (10th Cir.).
Police chief and officers were not liable under Ohio state law for failure to prevent man's suicide in the absence of any showing that they acted with a malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner in responding to reports that he had acted "suspicious" when unsuccessfully attempting to purchase a firearm at a store. In the absence of such a showing, they were entitled to immunity from liability for actions carried out within the scope of their employment under a state statute. Schoenfield v. Navarre, No. L-05-1082, 843 N.E.2d 234 (Ohio App. 2005). [N/R]
No reasonable juror, federal appeals court rules, could find that a police officer violated a schizophrenic suspect's rights by shooting and killing him seconds after he stabbed another officer with a butcher knife. Untalan v. City of Lorain, No. 04-4489, 430 F.3d 312 (6th Cir. 2005). [2006 LR Feb]
State of Maine was not liable for the death of a mentally ill man shot and killed by police as he was attempting to stab an officer with a knife in his residence. The state's alleged inadequate provision of mental health services, if proven, did not have a disparate impact on the decedent, in violation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disabilities by public entities, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, as he was not denied any public service available to able members of the public. Buchanan v. Maine, No. CIV.04-26, 366 F. Supp. 2d 169 (D. Me. 2005). [N/R]
Parents of mentally ill man who died, allegedly of positional asphyxia, after being taken into custody by police officers, stated a claim for violation of his civil rights by asserting that the officers, who transported him to a hospital, handcuffed and hog-tied, in a face-down position, had noticed his irregular breathing, but failed to adjust his position at that time. Court also finds a possibly viable claim for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, based on alleged failure to provide adequate training for officers in handling encounters with mentally ill persons. Arnold v. City of York, No. 4:CV-03-1352, 340 F. Supp. 2d 550 (M.D. Pa. 2004). [N/R]
City was immune under Indiana state common law and could not be held liable for officer's alleged negligent failure to prevent suicide of man who had threatened to shoot himself in the chest. Savieo v. City of New Haven, 02A03-0407-CV-317, 824 N.E.2d 1272 (Ind. App. 2005). [N/R]
Officer did not act unreasonably in shooting a man in the head with a non-lethal projectile in order to prevent his suicide after he refused to drop a knife he was pointing at his own heart. The force used was not excessive, despite the fact that it resulted in a skull fracture, brain damage, and disabling injuries. Mercado v. City of Orlando, #6:03-cv-227-ORL-18KRS, 323 F.Supp. 2d 1266 (M.D. Fla. 2004). [2004 LR Oct]
Police officer who shot and killed suicidal man who attempted to stand in front of moving traffic on a highway, told him that "I am Jesus Christ [...] I am going to die and so are you!" and then attacked him, was entitled to qualified immunity from liability, as he acted in reasonable self defense. Kesinger v. Conner, No. 03-13883, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 18160 (11th Cir. 2004). [2004 LR Oct]
Deputies serving judicial warrant for involuntary mental health confinement of disturbed man who had threatened to kill his sister did not act unreasonably in entering his apartment without knocking and announcing their purpose. Genuine issues of disputed fact as to the level of the disturbed man's "provocation" and resistance to the officers precluded summary judgment on his excessive force claims. Linbrugger v. Abercia, No. 02-221300, 363 F.3d 537 (5th Cir. 2004). [2004 LR Aug]
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]
State highway officials did not violate the constitutional rights of man who committed suicide by jumping off of Golden Gate Bridge, based on their failure to erect a suicide barrier there. The defendants' awareness of a history of suicides on the bridge and the opening of the bridge to pedestrians was insufficient to impose a Fourteenth Amendment due process duty on them to prevent the decedent's suicide, in the absence of any "special relationship" with him. Imrie v. Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transp., 282 F. Supp. 2d 1145 (N.D. Cal. 2003). [N/R]
Federal appeals court lacked jurisdiction to hear appeal of denial of qualified immunity to officers who shot man with a history of mental illness who they shot several times after responding to his 911 call. Trial court found that there were genuine contested issues of material fact, and appeals could not review that finding. Goffney v. Carr, #03-20072, 78 Fed. Appx. 974 (5th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Officers acted reasonably in shooting man who allegedly failed to obey orders to put down an 8.5" knife which he had when they responded to his sister's call that he was "going crazy" and needed to "be committed somewhere." No evidence contradicted officers' testimony that the man charged at an officer with the knife, as sister's claim that her brother was trying to lay the knife on a picnic table after withdrawing it from a sheath was "pure speculation," given that she was not present at the time. Santana v. City of Hartford, 283 F. Supp. 2d 720 (D. Conn. 2003). [N/R]
Officers acted reasonably in using pepper spray in an attempt to subdue an emotionally disturbed suicidal man who was armed with an axe and had previously taken hostages, and in shooting and killing him when he responded to the pepper spray by lifting the axe and running towards them. Isom v. Town of Warren, No. 03-1765, 360 F.3d 7 (1st Cir. 2004). [2004 LR May]
Estate of mentally ill man shot and killed by police officers after use of bean bag pellets and pepper spray failed to subdue him presented a genuine issue of fact as to whether officers had been inadequately trained in dealing with mentally ill persons and in the use of impact projectiles, and whether the alleged inadequate training caused his death. Herrera v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, 298 F. Supp. 2d 1043 (D. Nev. 2004). [N/R]
Police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit brought by family of mentally ill man they shot and killed while he was driving his vehicle towards a toll plaza. Plaintiffs claimed that the officers shot him multiple times at close range and continued firing after all officers were out of the way of his vehicle, intending to hurt or kill him. Waterman v. Batton, 294 F. Supp. 2d 709 (D. Md. 2003). [2004 LR Apr]
Officer was not entitled to qualified immunity on claim that he shot a mentally ill man in the stomach as he pointed a butcher knife towards himself with suicidal intentions, as deadly force is only permissible when a suspect poses an imminent threat to an officer or to others. Buchanan v. City of Milwaukee, 290 F. Supp. 2d 954 (E.D. Wis. 2003). [2004 LR Mar]
Officers alleged continued use of physical force after a man was subdued and restrained violated clearly established law and, if as plaintiff described, was excessive as used against a man who had committed no crime. Officers also lacked probable cause to restrain him for an involuntary mental evaluation solely on the basis of a neighbor's 911 call reporting that he was suicidal. Bailey v. Kennedy, No. 02-1761, 349 F.3d 731 (4th Cir. 2003). [2004 LR Feb]
Sheriff and SWAT team members were not entitled to qualified immunity for death of man shot and killed in his home after he resisted being taken into custody for a psychiatric evaluation. If plaintiff's factual allegations were true, and decedent was in the process of surrendering when he was shot and killed, use of deadly force against him was clearly excessive. Warrantless entry into the home when the man had "not committed" any crimes and there was no immediate need to subdue him was "reckless" and an excessive use of force. Federman v. County of Kern, No. 01-16691, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 7180 (9th Cir.). [2003 LR Jun]
Officers were properly granted summary judgment in lawsuit brought by suicidal man armed with knives who threatened his wife and officers and then was subdued by shooting him with "beanbag" rounds. Officers' use of force was objectively reasonable under the circumstances, and appeals court expresses agreement with trial judge that plaintiff should have "thanked" rather than sued the officers. Bell v. Irwin, #02-2262, 321 F.3d 637, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 3415 (7th Cir.). [2003 LR Apr]
Family of former police officer and Vietnam vet with post-traumatic stress disorder, who died in the woods near his home after fleeing there in response to activation of SWAT-like team around his residence after officers saw a "red light" coming from a window in the home, presented sufficient evidence to create a jury question as to whether activation of SWAT team and its tactics created a foreseeable danger to the decedent in a manner shocking to the conscience. Estate of Smith v. Marasco, #02-1437, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 1432 (3rd Cir. 2003). [2003 LR Mar]
City and officers were not liable for deaths of deranged husband and his son which arose from a two-day armed standoff with police and ended in a murder-suicide. Exigent circumstances supported a warrantless entry into the home based on the damage to the wife and son based on the husband's conduct, and the use of force, including tear gas, a battering ram and incendiary devices was reasonable, rather than excessive, under the circumstances. Ewolski v. City of Brunswick, #00-3066, 287 F.3d 492 (6th Cir. 2002). [2002 LR Oct]
345:141 Police officer who failed to take action to rescue mentally ill man who died after setting fire to his own house did not violate his constitutional rights; officer knew man to have a history of mental illness and a propensity for violence; lawsuit alleged that officers interfered with firefighters' attempt to put out the fire. Lansdown v. Chadwick, No. 00-3596, 258 F.3d 754 (8th Cir. 2001).
340:60 Federal appeals court rules that hog-tie restraints should not be used when it presents a significant risk to a suspect's health or well being because of diminished mental capacity, whether based on intoxication or a mental condition; officers were individually entitled to qualified immunity, but inadequate training claims against city could go forward in lawsuit over death of naked man who died after being restrained with hog-tie. Cruz v. City of Laramie, No. 99-8045, 99-8049, 99-8050, 239 F.3d 1183 (10th Cir. 2001).
340:51 Police supervisor who dispatched officers to a field where a youth was threatening to kill himself had no liability for the youth's subsequent death based on his failure to issue detailed commands via radio to those on the scene; no "coverup" was shown simply based on his instructions to two officers to prepare a joint report rather than writing individual accounts, when he had no reason to think any crime had occurred. Ford v. Moore, No. 99- 9303L, 99-9305, 99-9315, 237 F.3d 156 (2nd Cir. 2001).
301:3 Village was not liable for inadequate training of officers in dealing with abnormally acting individuals when there was no evidence of knowledge of a need for further training in this area; officer who shot and killed disturbed individual who asked police to kill him found to have used excessive force and jury awards $165,000 in damages. Palmquist v. Selvik, 111 F.3d 1332 (7th Cir. 1997).
302:21 Deputy's shooting and killing of mentally disturbed man was not disability discrimination in absence of showing that decedent was a "qualified individual with a disability" or that he was somehow "denied public services" because of such a disability. Thompson v. Williamson County, 965 F.Supp. 1026 (M.D. Tenn. 1997).
302:29 Officers were not liable for man's stabbing of his brother almost three weeks after they failed to detain him for a psychiatric examination pursuant to a judicial order; attack was too remote in time to demonstrate that failure to detain was the legal cause of the attack. Rodriguez- Cirilo v. Garcia, 115 F.3d 50 (1st Cir. 1997).
304:60 Officers did not create a danger for which they could be held liable when they returned a gun to a mentally disturbed individual who was later shot by officers who surrounded his residence in response to a report of a "barricaded" man; later incident was not foreseeable. DiJoseph v. City of Philadelphia, 953 F.Supp. 602 (E.D. Pa. 1997).
305:70 Officer had probable cause to take depressed man into protective custody based on his consumption of alcohol, number of pills which appeared to be missing from his medication, and his phone call to psychologist; use of pepper spray to restrain man and take him to hospital was reasonable when officer had reason to believe man might be attempting suicide. Monday v. Oullette, 118 F.3d 1099 (6th Cir. 1997).
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