CA6: No QI for shooting a man obviously surrendering

Officers responded to an armed potentially suicidal man they found in his house. When commanded to show his hands he started to get down to the floor when he was shot. “A jury could find these actions would indicate to a reasonable officer that Mr. Heeter was not threatening to the officers in the room; indeed, they could indicate that Mr. Heeter was beginning to comply with officer instructions. One of the officers reacted to Mr. Heeter’s movements by starting to talk to him; his words got cut off by the five shots from Officer Bowers’s rifle. And none of the other officers fired their weapons. Since a jury could find a reasonable officer would not have perceived Mr. Heeter to pose a deadly threat, Officer Bowers is not entitled to summary judgment on the excessive force claim.” Heeter v. Bowers, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 10299 (6th Cir. Apr. 29, 2024).*

This defendant officer acted reasonably in relying on information passed on by another officer that led to plaintiff’s stop. Other defendants get qualified immunity for some claims or not at all. Sims v. Brown, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 10281 (9th Cir. Apr. 29, 2024).*

“Accordingly, accepting the facts as the district court has given them to us, Sheriff Frye and Deputy Buchanan lacked probable cause to arrest Thurston for any of the crimes alleged in the warrant. For ‘notwithstanding the deference that magistrates deserve,’ Leon, 468 U.S. at 915, the officers’ knowledge of Thurston’s pure motives precludes finding that probable cause existed.” The officers failed to show that lack of clearly established law provides qualified immunity. Thurston v. Frye, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 10292 (4th Cir. Apr. 29, 2024).*

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