CA11: Shooting a man with a gun was close enough to reasonable under the circumstances for QI

Officers get qualified immunity for shooting a mentally retarded man they knew of when he was wandering the highway and was reported flashing a handgun at people. When the police encountered him, he wouldn’t show his hands and kept one hand behind his back, as if holding the gun there. Davis v. Edwards, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24176 (11th Cir. Aug. 14, 2019):*

Notwithstanding the tragic nature of the shooting, we conclude that it would not have been clear to a reasonable officer that the shooting was unreasonable under the circumstances. Edwards had to act quickly to subdue an unstable and potentially dangerous suspect. We do not view his actions with “the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Jones v. Fransen, 857 F.3d 843, 852 (11th Cir. 2017) (quotation marks omitted). Thus, because we conclude from the record that Edwards’s conduct did not violate Stewart’s clearly established constitutional rights, Edwards is entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment excessive force claim. Moreover, Hardnett and Fenn, who issued no commands and fired no shots, are likewise entitled to qualified immunity on this claim.

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