Coble v. City Of White House

634 F.3d 865 (6th Cir. 2011)


Officer Carney (D) was on patrol when a truck driven by P exited the parking lot of Bob & Rhonda's Sports Grill and pulled onto the highway in front of D's patrol car. After seeing the truck cross the fog line three times, Officer Carney activated his in-car video camera and flashing lights. P did not stop. He continued driving until he turned into the driveway of his home and reached the end of his driveway. P did not obey D's preliminary commands or answer his questions. Instead, he argued and told him to get off his property, and began walking toward his house. When he failed to obey D's command to stop, D removed his chemical agent from its holster, sprayed P, and performed a take-down maneuver, during which P sustained an open fracture of his right ankle. After a struggle on the ground, D, with the assistance of Officer Scott Bilbrey, who had arrived on the scene, succeeded in bringing P's arms behind his back and handcuffing him. Once P was handcuffed, he did not offer any further resistance. P testified that D pulled him up by the handcuffs, and, pushing him from behind, walked him 7 or 8 steps on his broken ankle, leaving a 34-foot trail of blood. P testified that D would have known that his leg was broken because bones were sticking out of P's leg, his tennis shoe was laid over sideways, one of his legs was shorter than the other, and he was screaming and calling D names. P testified that when D finally stopped, he let go of the handcuffs and dropped P face-first on the concrete. D testified that, after handcuffing P, he and Officer Bilbrey helped P to a standing position and began walking with him toward the patrol car. After three or four steps, P said his leg was broken. D testified that he looked down, saw that P's leg was broken, and immediately sat him down on the driveway. P was transported by helicopter to a hospital. A blood sample collected from him at 2:10 a.m. on April 7, 2007, indicated a blood alcohol level of 0.16. P pled guilty to charges of driving under the influence and resisting arrest. P sued Ds alleging claims of excessive force, false arrest, and failure to implement appropriate policies under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as state law claims of negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent training and supervision, reckless infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery. Ds filed motions for summary judgment. The court ruled as follows: Listening to the audiotape, no reasonable jury could find by a preponderance of the evidence that P screamed during the first few steps while he was being escorted, that he called D names to get him to stop walking, or that P 'splattered' on the pavement. The audiotape reveals only the sound of shuffling bodies as if the three men were walking, and P was silent. After a few moments, P cried out that his leg was broken, and the shuffling stopped. An officer said, 'Sit down!' There is no audible noise that one could associate with a body dropping or 'splattering' to the pavement.' . . . The testimony of Ds squares with the audiotape, while P's testimony does not. The court dismissed. P appealed.