51 F.3d 155 (8th Cir. 1995), 94-1577, Edwards v. Giles

Docket Nº:94-1577NE.
Citation:51 F.3d 155
Party Name:Ernest EDWARDS, Appellee, v. Brian GILES; Timothy Woolman; Mike Bassett, of the Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln, NE, Appellants.
Case Date:March 31, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 155

51 F.3d 155 (8th Cir. 1995)

Ernest EDWARDS, Appellee,


Brian GILES; Timothy Woolman; Mike Bassett, of the Lincoln

Police Department, Lincoln, NE, Appellants.

No. 94-1577NE.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 31, 1995

Submitted Oct. 12, 1994.

Page 156

Mark A. Christensen, Lincoln, NE (Andrew D. Strotman appeared on the brief), for appellant.

Denise E. Frost, Omaha, NE, argued, for appellee.

Before FAGG, Circuit Judge, ROSS, Senior Circuit Judge, and MAGILL, Circuit Judge.

FAGG, Circuit Judge.

In this 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 action, Ernest Edwards contends police officers Brian Giles, Timothy Woolman, and Mike Bassett violated the Fourth Amendment by using excessive force to arrest Edwards. Edwards contends the officers used excessive force when they placed him on the ground during the arrest, and Officer Woolman used excessive force when he pointed his gun at Edwards. The district court denied the officers' motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. In reviewing the denial, we consider the record in the light most favorable to Edwards.

During the late afternoon of July 4, 1992, a police officer pursuing a speeding van saw the driver crash the van and run away. The officer discovered the van was stolen, and police began searching for the driver. An individual in the neighborhood told some of the searching officers that a man matching the driver's description was at a house near the crash site. Two officers drove by the house and observed Edwards, who matched the description of the driver. When Edwards saw the police car, he disappeared around the side of the house.

Officer Woolman later spotted Edwards and chased him on foot. Edwards hid behind some bushes, but when Woolman approached him, Edwards stood up and asked the officer what he wanted. Woolman briefly pointed his gun at Edwards, then reholstered it when Edwards started running. With Woolman in pursuit, Edwards ducked around the corner of a nearby house, where Officers Giles and Bassett blocked his path. Edwards stopped and put his hands on his head. Edwards was wearing only shoes and shorts, and was not carrying a weapon. One of the officers threw Edwards to the ground, and the officers handcuffed and shackled him. Edwards cut his abdomen when he struck the ground.

On appeal, the officers contend they are entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity, because Edwards failed to produce specific facts showing the officers used excessive force in apprehending Edwards. See Cole v. Bone, 993 F.2d 1328, 1332 (8th Cir.1993). We agree. Although it is clearly established that the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from using excessive force during an arrest, Edwards cannot overcome the officers'...

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