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Jackson v. Stair

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

September 12, 2019

Charles Jackson Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Billy D. Stair, III, individually and in his official capacity with Jacksonville Police Department; Jacksonville Arkansas, City of; Jacksonville Police Department Defendants - Appellees

          Submitted: June 6, 2019

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock

          Before ERICKSON, WOLLMAN, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.

          ERICKSON, Circuit Judge

         Charles Jackson brought an action for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging various constitutional violations against the City of Jacksonville, Arkansas, the Jacksonville Police Department, and Jacksonville Police Officer Billy D. Stair, III, individually and in his official capacity, after Jackson was detained and tased by Officer Stair as part of an arrest. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, and Jackson appealed. For the reasons stated below, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

         I.

         On July 23, 2013, Jacksonville Police Department (JPD) officers were dispatched to a dispute in progress at a local business, Vaughn Tire. The dispute arose because Jackson believed that Vaughn Tire had damaged a wheel lug during the course of a repair of Jackson's dump truck. Officer Stair was the first to respond on the scene, where he found Jackson walking with another man. Video evidence[1]shows that Officer Stair asked, "What's going on guys?" In response, Jackson, who was obviously quite agitated, began to yell and point toward another group of men. Officer Stair instructed Jackson to relax, and Jackson replied, pointing at one of the men, "Get him, and I'm gonna relax." Officer Stair directed Jackson to go stand by the patrol car. Jackson began to comply, still yelling, when Officer Stair told him to keep his hands out of his pockets. Jackson reached his left hand into his pocket and stopped immediately in front of Officer Stair to shout that he did not have anything in his pockets. Officer Stair ordered Jackson to turn around. Jackson got louder and did not comply.

         Officer Stair pulled out his Taser, pointed it at Jackson, and again ordered Jackson to turn around, or he would be tased. More yelling and pointing ensued from Jackson - at one point Jackson shouted: "You tase me and see what happens." Officer Stair ordered Jackson to turn around five more times before Jackson began to comply. Officer Stair told Jackson to put his hands up, and he did, but he was still facing Officer Stair. Officer Stair again ordered Jackson to turn around, and Jackson did so with his hands in the air, but Jackson continued to yell, asking for Officer Stair's badge number and threatening to file a complaint with his supervisor.

         Another officer, Kenneth Harness, approached Jackson and attempted to handcuff him. Jackson put his hands behind his back, and then he stated: "Don't hurt my arm." Jackson turned around to face Officer Harness and raised his right fist toward the officer's head. Officer Stair immediately deployed his Taser, and Jackson fell to the ground, kicking his legs. Moments later, and without another warning, Officer Stair deployed his Taser a second time. Officer Stair then ordered Jackson to turn on his stomach or he would be tased again. Officer Stair repeated the order, but Jackson rose to one knee, in the direction of Officer Stair. Officer Stair deployed his Taser a third time. Jackson finally complied with the order to lie on his stomach, and Officer Harness handcuffed him. Jackson was arrested for disorderly conduct.

         Jackson filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Officer Stair, in his individual and official capacities, the City of Jacksonville (City), and the JPD, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated during the tasing incident.[2] The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, and Jackson filed a timely notice of appeal.

         The record contains copies of the City's Taser policy and evidence of Officer Stair's completion of Taser-specific and general law enforcement trainings upon his hiring. The record also includes documentation of the JPD's "Use of Force Review" of the tasing incident at issue here. Following that investigation, Officer Stair received a written warning and additional use-of-force training.

         II.

         We review de novo a district court order granting summary judgment, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Jackson, and drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor. Schoelch v. Mitchell, 625 F.3d 1041, 1045 (8th Cir. 2010). Summary judgment is appropriate when "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

         We note at the outset that Jackson failed to make any meaningful argument on appeal regarding his claims against the JPD. Those claims are therefore waived. Ahlberg v. Chrysler Corp., 481 F.3d 630, 634 (8th Cir. 2007). Likewise, the complaint alleged violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. However, as noted by the district court, the Fifth Amendment applies only to the federal government or federal actions and does not apply to state and municipality actors as alleged here, Barnes v. City of Omaha, 574 F.3d 1003, 1005 n.2 (8th Cir. 2009); the Eighth Amendment applies only to convicted prisoners, Hott v. Hennepin County, 260 F.3d 901, 905 (8th Cir. 2001); and the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to excessive force claims involving arrests, which are ...


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