865 F.3d 1064 (8th Cir. 2017), 16-3897, White v. Jackson

Docket Nº:16-3897
Citation:865 F.3d 1064
Opinion Judge:MURPHY, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Tracey White; DeWayne Anton Matthews, Jr.; Damon Coleman; Theophilus Green; Kerry White; Antawn Harris; Sandy Bowers; William Davis; Nathan Burns; Kai Bowers, Plaintiffs - Appellants v. Thomas Jackson; John Belmar; Justin Cosmo; St. Louis County, Missouri; City of Ferguson, Missouri; David Ryan; Terrence McCoy; Michael McCann; Derik Jackson; ...
Attorney:For Tracey White, Dwayne Anton Matthews, Jr., Damon Coleman, Theophilus Green, Kerry White, Antawn Harris, Sandy Bowers, William Davis, Nathan Burns, Kia Bowers, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Reginald A. Greene, GREENE LEGAL GROUP, Atlanta, GA; Gregory L. Lattimer, LAW OFFICES OF GREGORY L. LATTIMER, ...
Judge Panel:Before LOKEN, MURPHY, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 01, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
SUMMARY

Large crowds gathered in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown, Jr. was killed by a police officer. Six sets of plaintiffs filed suit alleging multiple claims related to the police response to the largely peaceful demonstrations. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants, concluding that the individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. 1983... (see full summary)

 
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865 F.3d 1064 (8th Cir. 2017)

Tracey White; DeWayne Anton Matthews, Jr.; Damon Coleman; Theophilus Green; Kerry White; Antawn Harris; Sandy Bowers; William Davis; Nathan Burns; Kai Bowers, Plaintiffs - Appellants

v.

Thomas Jackson; John Belmar; Justin Cosmo; St. Louis County, Missouri; City of Ferguson, Missouri; David Ryan; Terrence McCoy; Michael McCann; Derik Jackson; Joe Patterson; Aaron Vinson; William Bates; Nicholas Payne; Daniel Hill; Antonio Valentine; Matt Delia; David " Ryan" DeVouton; Brandon McKinnon, Defendants - Appellees

No. 16-3897

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 1, 2017

Submitted June 7, 2017.

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Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.

For Tracey White, Dwayne Anton Matthews, Jr., Damon Coleman, Theophilus Green, Kerry White, Antawn Harris, Sandy Bowers, William Davis, Nathan Burns, Kia Bowers, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Reginald A. Greene, GREENE LEGAL GROUP, Atlanta, GA; Gregory L. Lattimer, LAW OFFICES OF GREGORY L. LATTIMER, Washington, DC; Malik Z. Shabazz, Washington, DC.

For Thomas Jackson, Justin Cosmo, Matt Delia, Ryan Devouton, Brandon McKinnon, Defendants - Appellees: Peter J. Dunne, Robert T. Plunkert, PITZER & SNODGRASS, Saint Louis, MO.

For John Belmar, St. Louis County, Missouri, David Ryan, Terrence McCoy, Michael McCann, Derik Jackson, Joe Patterson, Aaron Vinson, Nicholas Payne, Daniel Hill, Antonio Valentine, Defendants - Appellees: Priscilla F. Gunn, Michael A. Shuman, ST. LOUIS COUNTY COUNSELOR'S OFFICE, Saint Louis, MO; Michael Edward Hughes, Saint Louis, MO.

For City of Ferguson, Missouri, Defendant - Appellee: Peter J. Dunne, Robert T. Plunkert, PITZER & SNODGRASS, Saint Louis, MO; Ronald Alan Norwood, LEWIS & RICE, Saint Louis, MO.

For William Bates, Defendant - Appellee: Priscilla F. Gunn, ST. LOUIS COUNTY COUNSELOR'S OFFICE, Saint Louis, MO; Michael Edward Hughes, Saint Louis, MO.

Before LOKEN, MURPHY, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

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MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

Michael Brown, Jr. was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. In the days that followed, large crowds gathered in Ferguson. While the crowds were largely peaceful, at times they became violent. This action concerns six sets of plaintiffs who allege multiple claims related to the police response to the demonstrations. The district court granted defendants summary judgment on all plaintiffs' claims, and plaintiffs appeal. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

I. Background

On August 9, 2014, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, Jr. killing him. In the following days, large crowds gathered in Ferguson, and the crowds turned violent on several evenings in the week following Brown's death. Individuals threw objects at the police, discharged firearms, looted businesses, and set a convenience store on fire. The epicenter of this unrest was West Florissant Avenue which runs north and south and is located on the eastern edge of the City of Ferguson. In response to the civil unrest, the Ferguson Police Department requested assistance from the St. Louis County Police Department and from other municipal police departments located in the county. This action concerns six sets of plaintiffs who allege state and federal claims against the individual defendants, St. Louis County, and the City of Ferguson.

A. Nathan Burns

On the evening of August 11, Nathan Burns and a friend were standing near Gage Drive and West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson. A crowd of approximately one

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hundred people was assembled near Gage and West Florissant. Members of the crowd were throwing objects at the police who attempted to disperse the crowd by instructions and by the use of smoke and tear gas. Burns did not follow the orders to disperse. While standing with a small group of others, who also remained in the area, he was sprayed with pepper spray by St. Louis Metropolitan police officers who were not named as defendants in this action.

St. Louis County police officers Terence McCoy and Daniel Hill arrested Burns after he had been pepper sprayed. Burns testified that officers had deployed pepper spray on him several times, but he did not identify the individual officers. After McCoy and Hill arrested Burns they transferred him to other officers who transported him to the St. Louis County Jail. Burns testified that while he was in handcuffs an officer with pepper spray on his hands had placed his hand between Burns' pants and his underwear and rubbed his genital area. It is unclear from Burns' testimony the time at which this occurred, and Burns did not identify the officer.

Burns alleges state law claims for false arrest, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery against St. Louis County police officers McCoy, Hill, and Michael McCann. He also alleges negligent supervision against the City of Ferguson and St. Louis County. His remaining federal civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unreasonable seizure and excessive force are brought against McCann, McCoy, and Hill; claims for failure to train, supervise, and discipline are brought against the City of Ferguson, its police chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County, and its police chief Jon Belmar.

B. Damon Coleman and Theophilus Green

On August 11, Maryland Heights police lieutenant Matt Delia, officer Brandon McKinnon, and officer David " Ryan" DeVouton were assigned to play a support role to the St. Louis County tactical operations on West Florissant Avenue. Delia, McKinnon, and DeVouton were not equipped with firearms capable of discharging nonlethal projectiles. That night, the St. Louis County police department determined that the crowds had turned violent and that they therefore needed to be dispersed. County officers then made announcements to the crowd to disperse.

That evening the tactical unit proceeded toward West Florissant and Canfield Drive because they had received reports of gunfire in that area. While the unit was moving down West Florissant, officers noticed two individuals standing in a nearby parking lot. The individuals were later identified as Damon Coleman and Theophilus Green. They were near a group of approximately 15 to 20 people who were repeatedly ordered to disperse by county officers. The group dispersed except for Coleman and Green who made no effort to leave while yelling at the police officers.

As officers approached Coleman and Green, they hit the two with nonlethal projectiles. Lieutenant Delia instructed officer DeVouton to arrest Coleman and Green, and officer DeVouton made the arrests while officer McKinnon stood nearby and observed. Coleman later testified that about four officers had applied force to him during his arrest and that while he was lying on his stomach and being handcuffed, he was kicked, struck with a stick, and dragged on the ground.

Coleman and Green allege state law claims for false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress against unidentified police officers from the City of

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Maryland Heights and an assault and battery claim against Maryland Heights police lieutenant Delia and officers McKinnon and DeVouton. They also allege negligent supervision against St. Louis County. Section 1983 claims for unreasonable seizure and excessive force were also brought against Delia, McKinnon, and DeVouton, as well as failure to train, supervise, and discipline against St. Louis County and chief Belmar.

C. Antawn Harris

At approximately 7:00 p.m. on the evening of August 11, Antawn Harris walked from his apartment to a barbeque restaurant on the corner of West Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive. Harris saw that the police were attempting to disperse the crowd on West Florissant and had deployed tear gas, but Harris did not disperse. Instead, he stayed and filmed the events on his phone. Harris testified that while he was standing near the street, a police officer shot him in the face with a nonlethal projectile. Harris was not able to identify the officer who shot him or the department to which he belonged. Harris was taken to the hospital, was discharged that evening, and did not seek any follow up care.

Harris alleges state law claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery against unidentified police officers from the City of Ferguson and St. Louis County. He also alleges negligent supervision against the City of Ferguson and St. Louis County. He finally alleges § 1983 claims for unreasonable seizure and excessive force against unidentified police officers from the City of Ferguson and St. Louis County and for failure to train...

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