8th Circuit refuses immunity for Ferguson, Mo., police officer in case related to Michael Brown shooting | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

8th Circuit refuses immunity for Ferguson, Mo., police officer in case related to Michael Brown shooting

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 11:45 AM

In perusing 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rulings today, I note it upheld, in a 2-1`decision, a lower court ruling that Ferguson, Mo., police were not entitled to qualified immunity from a lawsuit by Dorian Johnson, who was stopped along with Michael Brown Jr. in an incident that ended in Brown's shooting death and days of upheaval in the city.

Johnson says he was assaulted and suffered emotional pain in the encounter. The city claimed no constitutional violation occurred.

A key point is what the court said about the individual officer's liability (some other liability questions related to the chief and city were unresolved):

Taking the allegations in Johnson’s complaint as true, Officer Wilson stopped Johnson and Brown because they were walking in the middle of the street in violation of a municipal ordinance. Johnson and Brown were walking peacefully down Canfield Drive when Officer Wilson parked directly in their path. Johnson and Brown stopped walking when Officer Wilson parked his car and forcefully struck Brown with his car door. The facts, as alleged, show that Brown and Johnson did not flee from Officer Wilson and did not resist arrest. Based on these facts, it was unreasonable for Officer Wilson to draw his gun and shoot twice, striking Brown in the arm. Thus, Johnson has sufficiently alleged a violation of a constitutional right.

Brown's family has also filed a wrongful death suit in federal court. This one has a long way to go, but this is a point for defendants. Circuit Judge Wollman dissented because he did not believe Johnson had been "seized" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizure.  He was just ordered to a sidewalk, Wollman said, and not physically restrained. Opinion here.



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…


  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The Sunday open line

    • Trump is seeing the country the way he wants it to be, not the way…

    • on December 16, 2018
  • Re: The Sunday open line

    • Looney tunes Leslie Rutledge is at the White House to Traitor trumps Christmas party while…

    • on December 16, 2018
  • Re: Porch pirate prosecution plan coming

    • I put a dead rat in a US Postal Service Priority box and left it…

    • on December 16, 2018

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation