Vivianne Washington was arrested in the investigation of a brutal murder of an elderly woman at her home in Meriwether County, Georgia after assailants invaded her home, attacked her, and set her on fire. Before she died, she named her assailants as several black males and an African American female. Officer Hugh Howard of the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office investigating the crime received a tip from a farm employee suggesting that he interview Cortavious Heard. Heard was a former farm employee who was on probation for another crime. After Heard was picked up he eventually admitted to his involvement in the home invasion. While interviewing suspect Heard, officer Howard received a tip that came into the Meriwether Sheriff’s Department from an informant that identified Washington as someone the informant heard was involved in this. The informant sent a photograph of Washington. When Howard received it, he told Heard about the tip and showed Heard Washington’s photograph. Heard identified it as the woman who was involved in the home invasion. After obtaining more information about Washington and confirming that the information came from a reliable source, an arrest warrant was issued for Washington. She was arrested at work about 5:00 p.m. Continue reading
Clare Grady, Carmen Trotta, and Martha Hennessy are members of the Plowshares Movement, a Roman Catholic protest and activism group opposed to nuclear weapons. On April 4, 2018, they and others surreptitiously and illegally entered the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Marys, Georgia, to engage in protest of nuclear weapons by engaging in what they referred to as symbolic disarmament. What they did was more destructive. They spray painted numerous anti-nuclear and religious messages on the sidewalk and on monuments, poured donated blood from the movement’s members on the door of a building and the sidewalk, hammered on a decommissioned missile display, placed crime scene tape around the base, removed signage and part of a monument, and cut through wiring and fencing to enter a highly secured area and display banners protesting nuclear weapons.
Charles was arrested by a Dawson County Sheriff’s deputy on an outstanding warrant after he was found inside a car that the deputy had pulled over for speeding. Charles resisted his arrest for over five minutes and the deputy succeeded in subduing Charles with the aid of a civilian bystander and a second deputy. Charles was convicted of felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer in a Georgia state court.
He sued the two deputies and the civilian in federal court under section 1983 alleging excessive force under Georgia state law and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. His claim against the civilian was that the deputy and the civilian conspired to violate his right to be free of excessive force.
A deputy from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office pulled over Sosa while driving. After checking his name in the computer system and finding an outstanding warrant for a David Sosa, Sosa explained that he had been mistakenly arrested four years earlier for the same warrant. He told the deputy about the differences between himself and the real Sosa who was wanted. The deputy arrested him anyway, and he spent three days in jail before the sheriff’s office acknowledged he was not the wanted Sosa and released him.
Sosa filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the Martin County Sheriff’s Department alleging a violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights by falsely arresting him and for detaining him longer than he should have been detained. He made a claim pursuant to Monell that the Sheriff failed to institute policies and train deputies to prevent these types of things from happening. The trial court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim.
Mr. Spencer sued Sheriff Jonathan Benison pursuant to 42 U.S.C §1983 claiming a violation of his Fifth Amendment rights against deprivation of property and liberty rights. He alleged that Benison ordered him to remove traffic cones and vehicles that were preventing Spencer’s neighbor from completing construction on an easement that Spencer alleged encroached on his property. Spencer claimed that by ordering him to remove these obstructions, the Sheriff deprived him of property without due process and that Benison conspired with others to take and use his property without due process or compensation.
Spencer’s dispute began after an entity called Belle Mere Properties purchased a parcel of real estate from Spencer which contained an easement of 25 feet on either side of the existing power line for the purpose of egress and ingress. Belle Mere then leased the property to a bingo hall. Soon after Spencer and Belle Mere began disputing over the boundaries of the easement when Belle Mere decided to expand a previously constructed roadway running through the easement. After Spencer made several calls to the police claiming that a bulldozer was trespassing, Benison responded to the scene and found that Spencer had placed cones and vehicles blocking construction which backed up traffic on U.S. Highway 11.
Susan Khoury filed a lawsuit against the Miami Dade County School Board and Officer Williams, a school board police officer, for false arrest, excessive force, and First Amendment retaliation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. Williams had detained and committed her for an involuntary mental health examination under Florida’s Baker Act statute, Fla. Stat. §394.463 after Williams characterized her as being a danger to herself or others. Khoury also made a Monell claim against the school board. The district court granted summary judgment to as to all claims against the officer and the school board. In this opinion, the court of appeals reversed the district court’s dismissal against the police officer but upheld the dismissal as to the school board.
Her claims arose from an incident that began when Khoury, who lived across the street from a middle school baseball field in Miami Dade County, was using her phone to record cars she believed were illegally parked around the baseball field. Khoury had an argument with one of the drivers, who then called the police. Officer Williams arrived, and after advising the driver that Khoury had a First Amendment right to film, Khoury and Williams had an argument which led to Williams arresting and detainer Khoury pursuant to the Baker Act.
A deputy from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office pulled over Sosa’s car while driving. After checking his name in the computer system and finding an outstanding warrant for a David Sosa, Sosa explained that he had been mistakenly arrested four years earlier on the same warrant and advised the deputy of the differences between him and the real Sosa who was wanted. But the deputy arrested him anyway and he spent three days and nights in jail before the Department acknowledged he was not the wanted Sosa and released him.
Sosa filed a civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the Martin County Sheriff’s Department alleging a violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights by falsely arresting him and over detaining him. He made a claim pursuant to Monell that the Sheriff failed to institute policies and train deputies to prevent these types of things from happening.
This case involved an encounter between a taxicab driver named Junior Prosper and a Miami Dade police officer that resulted in Prosper’s death. Prosper’s widow sued the officer under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in federal court in Miami, Florida, claiming constitutional violation for the officer’s actions. The federal trial judge ruled that the officer was entitled to the protection of qualified immunity, which gives liability protection to police officers. This is an appeal from the federal trial judge’s decision to dismiss the case.
The events began when Prosper’s taxi drifted off the road and collided with a pole near the ramp to I-95, apparently because he lost consciousness while driving. A witness called 911 and reported the driver had passed out. A few minutes later Prosper got out of the taxi and was seen running up the on-ram toward I-95. Another witness thought Prosper was drunk and had stolen the taxi. The Miami Dade officer arrived on the scene in response to the call and learned from the witnesses what they had seen. In his police cruiser, the officer approached Prosper on the I-95 ramp and ordered him to stop, but Prosper continued walking up the ramp. What happened next was disputed except for the fact that the officer tased Prosper; Prosper bit down on the officer’s left index finger; and the officer shot Prosper 3 times in the chest. According to the officer, after Prosper bit down his finger the officer then tased Prosper, but Prosper would not release his bite. When the officer was unable to pry Prosper’s jaw open with his free hand, he drew his firearm and shot Prosper once in the chest. Prosper continued biting while twisting his head from side to side, and the officer shot him a second time. Prosper still did not release, and he fired a third shot killing Prosper.
This appeal involved a 1983 civil rights lawsuit under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and various state law claims against the Columbus Georgia, the chief of police, and an officer Brown from the department. This is how the appellate court stated the issue. Whether, after a high-speed chase, a police officer reasonably used deadly force when he stepped out of his vehicle to make an arrest and the suspect’s nearby car suddenly went into reverse.
Here are how the facts unfolded. A car driven by the deceased led the officers from Columbus Police Department on a high speed chase across state lines before crashing into bushes on the side of the road. The lead police vehicle driven by Officer Brown stopped behind and to the right of the car. Seconds after Brown stepped out to make an arrest, the car’s reverse lights turned on, and the car started backing up. Brown fired 11 shots through the back windshield and side windows as the car passed near him. Then he changed magazines and fired another 10 shots. The driver was killed, and his two passengers were injured.
The Hendersons’ appeal involved a civil-rights suit against the City of Huntsville and the Chief of Police alleging that the Chief and the city violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion through the City’s permit ordinance and the requirement of a noise provision in their special event permit.
The Hendersons believe that abortion is the murder of an unborn child and abortion is contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs. They act upon those beliefs by standing on the public sidewalks near two Huntsville, Alabama, abortion clinics to express their views and offer counsel to clinic employees, visitors, and patients who pass by. Under the Huntsville municipal code, their activities constitute a minor event and do not require a permit. But their protests bring out counter protesters from abortion-rights advocates and the presence of the abortion rights advocates makes it more difficult for the Hendersons to make their speech heard for two reasons. First, the Huntsville municipal code requires simultaneous sidewalk events to be held at least 10 feet apart. The Hendersons allege that the abortion-rights advocates take advantage of that policy by obtaining permits for events in front of the clinic and forcing the Hendersons to the other side of the street. Second, the abortion rights advocates drown out the Hendersons by shouting and ringing cowbells.