CA8: Ptf’s takedown was reasonable for his not responding to commands

Plaintiff was taken down because he didn’t properly respond to commands, and he suffered facial injuries. He was, however, so intoxicated and couldn’t remember what happened. He was also Tased. It was all reasonable based on what the officer was confronted with at the time, so he gets qualified immunity. Kohorst v. Smith, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 24784 (8th Cir. Aug. 6, 2020)*:

Based on the circumstances confronting Officer Smith when he arrived on the scene, the arm-bar takedown and the pushing down of Kohorst, who at minimum appeared to be resisting and was not complying with commands, do not rise to the level of force required to constitute a constitutional violation. See Vester v. Hallock, 864 F.3d 884, 887 (8th Cir. 2017) (finding an arm-bar takedown not a constitutional violation based on subject’s alleged criminal conduct, refusal to comply with repeated commands, potential threat to officer’s safety, and fact that officer was making arrest alone). While Kohorst’s extreme intoxication might make him appear harmless in retrospect, the facts that confronted Officer Smith were anything but harmless. An officer could reasonably and objectively believe that Kohorst was not alone, that Kohorst had previously been involved in an altercation, that Kohorst was noncompliant, and that as the only law enforcement officer on the scene Officer Smith needed to be wary of Kohorst because he could be aided at any time by the second suspect. Thus, Officer Smith had a reasonably objective belief that takedown force was appropriate. See Karels v. Storz, 906 F.3d 740, 745 (8th Cir. 2018) (describing takedowns as appropriate when officers face noncompliant arrestees and circumstances fraught with danger and unpredictability); see also Murphy v. Engelhart, 933 F.3d 1027, 1029-30 (8th Cir. 2019) (finding it not clearly established that an officer could not throw or shove an uncooperative, noncompliant, intoxicated individual to the ground on the shoulder of a dark highway).

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