Strand v. Minchuk 7thCIR 8NOV2018

Strand v. Minchuk 7thCIR 8NOV2018

This is a civil case brought under 42 USC 1983 for excessive use of force.  This case demonstrates the significance of the limitations on obtaining qualified immunity on a motion for summary judgment.

In this case, taking the facts as alleged by the plaintiff, an officer got in a verbal altercation with a trucker to whom he had just issued parking tickets. The verbal altercation gave way to a physical altercation resulting in the trucker on top of the officer punching him in the face. The plaintiff next alleges that he put his hands up and said he surrendered.  According to the plaintiff, the officer then drew his firearm and shot him in the abdomen.

The defendant in the case argued that even in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, he was entitled to qualified immunity as a matter of law.  Applying the four Graham factors, the Seventh Circuit disagreed, holding that it is clearly established that deadly force cannot be used on a person who is no longer a threat. The court stated: “If the facts and circumstances show that an individual who once posed a threat has become “subdued and complying with the officer’s orders,” the officer may not continue to use force.”  So, this case will have to proceed to trial for the jury to determine if the officer violated the trucker’s constitutional right to remain free of excessive force.

To read or download the full decision CLICK HERE