5 F.3d 230 (7th Cir. 1993), 93-1015, Estate of Starks v. Enyart

Docket Nº:93-1015.
Citation:5 F.3d 230
Party Name:ESTATE OF Damon L. STARKS, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Donald L. ENYART, Thomas I. Black, and Thomas E. Schaffer, individually and as Officers of the Indianapolis Police Department, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:September 14, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 230

5 F.3d 230 (7th Cir. 1993)

ESTATE OF Damon L. STARKS, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,

v.

Donald L. ENYART, Thomas I. Black, and Thomas E. Schaffer,

individually and as Officers of the Indianapolis

Police Department, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 93-1015.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

September 14, 1993

Argued June 9, 1993.

Page 231

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 232

Hamid Kashani (argued), Indianapolis, IN, for plaintiffs-appellees.

Michael V. Gooch, John S. Beeman, Donald L. Centers (argued), Edward R. Hannon, Harrison & Moberly, Indianapolis, IN, for defendants-appellants.

Before CUDAHY, FLAUM and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

FLAUM, Circuit Judge.

On the evening of November 1, 1989, Damon Starks stole a taxicab and drove it to a nearby Taco Bell. Three uniformed police officers quickly surrounded the cab and confronted Starks. Instead of submitting to the authorities, Starks attempted to escape. As Starks drove toward Officer Black, all three officers opened fire and killed him. The plaintiffs sued the officers under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for violating Starks' civil rights. The district court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment based on a qualified immunity defense, and the officers appeal.

I.

For the purpose of this appeal, we accept the plaintiffs' version of the facts, and we draw all reasonable inferences in their favor. Knox v. McGinnis, 998 F.2d 1405, 1409 (7th Cir.1993). At approximately 9:00 p.m. on November 1, the Indianapolis Police Department received a report of a stolen Yellow Cab and issued a radio broadcast describing the car and its last known location. Sergeant Enyart, driving alone in his marked police car, spotted the cab and followed it to a nearby Taco Bell parking lot. Starks parked the stolen cab on the passenger side of another car where a civilian witness, David Craig, was sitting in the back seat. Enyart parked his police car six to eight feet behind the cab. Meanwhile, Officers Black and Shaffer had heard the broadcast of Enyart's sighting of the cab and pulled into the Taco Bell parking lot shortly after Enyart and the cab arrived. They parked their marked police car behind Enyart's car. The red flashing lights on one of the two police cars were engaged.

All three police officers were in uniform. Officer Black walked around the Craigs' car to the front of the Yellow cab. Officer Shaffer walked to the rear of the cab on the driver's side. Sergeant Enyart walked to the driver's door of the cab, ordered Starks to get out of the cab, and reached down and opened the door approximately six inches. Starks grabbed the door with both hands, slammed it shut, and locked all of the doors to the cab. Starks asked Enyart what he wanted, and Enyart again ordered him to exit the cab. Instead, Starks put the car in reverse and slowly backed the cab into Enyart's police car. Then he drove forward and toward the right, but his escape path was blocked by a utility pole. Starks reversed again, edging the rear of the cab to the left to improve the angle of the cab to the pole. The cab came close to, but did not strike, the Craigs' car. At that point, the stolen cab was approximately ten feet from the utility pole. Starks put the cab in drive and floored the accelerator. Apparently, the angle of the cab now would have permitted Starks to clear the pole and drive away, had he not been apprehended.

When Starks pulled forward for the first time, Officer Black was behind the utility pole. More importantly, Craig testified that Black remained behind the pole until Starks had already started forward the second time, at a high rate of speed. Then Black moved out from...

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