8th Circuit reinstates part of suit by man who said he was beaten by state trooper | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

8th Circuit reinstates part of suit by man who said he was beaten by state trooper

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 11:10 AM

The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today sent back for jury review the question of whether an individual state trooper could claim sovereign immunity for his actions in an arrest after a high-speed chase.

Gabriel Coker sued the Arkansas State Police and Trooper Brad Cartwright. He claimed that Cartwright used excessive force by hitting Coker's motorcycle with his car, kicking Coker in the face, and breaking bones in Coker's face by hitting with a flashlight.

The 8th Circuit said the district court correctly found that the State Police was immune from suit under the 11th Amendment's grant of sovereign immunity and no injunctive relief could be ordered against Cartwright in his official capacity.

But, the court said,  "Coker does, however, present several genuine disputes of material fact regarding Cartwright's conduct that, if true, preclude a grant of qualified immunity."

The chase occurred in February 2009 after Cartwright clocked Coker at 102 mph on divided Highway 67-167. He said the chase reached speeds of 150 mph. The action being challenged mostly occurred out of view of the trooper's dash camera, after the chase ended. Cartwright said he used only the force necessary to make an arrest of a resisting suspect and that, if he struck Coker with a flashlight, it was inadvertent. Coker alleged that he was compliant and beaten after lying down to submit to arrest. Said the opinion:

When drawing all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to Coker, we cannot conclude that Cartwright's use of force once out of view of the dash camera was objectively reasonable as a matter of law. Rather, a reasonable jury could find that the severity of Coker's injuries demonstrates excessive force, particularly Cartwright's decision to strike Coker using a metal flashlight after Coker was already on the ground and allegedly complying with Cartwright's demands. ... Without the aid of video or an understandable audio recording, it is impossible to determine what happened that night after Coker ran out of view of the camera without weighing Cartwright's version of events against Coker's story. Making credibility determinations or weighing evidence in this manner is improper at the summary judgment stage, and "it is not our function to remove the credibility assessment from the jury."

Here's the lower court opinion in the case, by Judge Susan Webber Wright.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Bipartisan deal to continue subsidies Trump ended. But ...

    Everyone's reporting that Sens. Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander have struck a bipartisan deal on to continue federal subsidies for health coverage that Donald Trump cut off.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    The open line, plus the day's news roundup.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • James Lee Witt corrects Trump on grade for Puerto Rico relief effort

    Donald Trump twice yesterday used James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton's widely hailed FEMA director and now in the private business of assisting in disasters, as a reference on the work he's done responding to hurricanes this year. Media, particularly on the conservative end, have echoed the Trump remarks.But hold on: Witt wasn't talking about Puerto Rico.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    • As I remember and I could be misremembering, that the ICE raids usually took place…

    • on October 17, 2017
  • Re: Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    • OMG--could he be any more insensitive? Trump told soldier's widow 'he knew what he signed…

    • on October 17, 2017
  • Re: The Medicaid charade explained

    • How I Got My Desired Loan Amount From A Reliable Loan Company. My name is…

    • on October 17, 2017



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation