W.D.N.C.: § 1983 claim officers dented a door during a raid is not a 4A violation

Claim officers denting a door during a raid is not a Fourth Amendment violation. Fulbright v. Hodges, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85727 (W.D.N.C. May 12, 2022):

The Supreme Court has recognized that “officers executing search warrants on occasion must damage property in order to perform their duty.” Dalia v. United States, 441 U.S. 238, 258 (1979). However, “[e]xcessive or unnecessary destruction of property in the course of a search may violate the Fourth Amendment, even though the entry itself is lawful and the fruits of the search are not subject to suppression.” United States v. Ramirez, 523 U.S. 65, 71 (1998). An officer’s conduct does not violate the Fourth Amendment if the destruction is, as an objective matter, reasonably necessary to execute a lawful search warrant; nor does liability extend to accidental or incidental injury to property. Cybernet, LLC v. David, 954 F.3d 162, 169-70 (4th Cir. 2020).

The Plaintiff has failed to state Fourth Amendment claims with regard to the Defendant officers’ entry into his home to arrest him on a failure to appear warrant for a misdemeanor [Doc. 1 at 6]; Hall, 2009 WL 3165458, at *3-5; for seizing a bong that was in plain view on a coffee table [id.]; Horton, 496 U.S. at 136; for seizing cash from the Plaintiff’s pocket after he was arrested [id.]; Lafayette, 462 U.S. at 644; and searching on March 14 pursuant to a warrant [Doc. 1 at 6]; Leon, 468 U.S. at 992. The Plaintiff’s allegations that the Defendant officers dented a door during the March 10 entry and that they “damag[ed] property” during the March 14 search [Doc. 1 at 6-7] are too vague and conclusory, and are not sufficiently severe, to state a Fourth Amendment violation. See, e.g., Cybernet, LLC, 954 F.3d at 162 (damage including removal of security cameras by pulling planks from the roof was insufficiently severe to rise to the Fourth Amendment level).

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