Court holds that use of deadly force was reasonable, even though officer shot decedent after stop and frisk "suspect" threw away his gun
In Mullins v. Cyranek, the Sixth Circuit concluded that the defendant Deputy was entitled to qualified immunity from a civil action by the decedent's family who alleged excessive use of force. Mullins was stopped and frisked and produced a gun, which he promptly discarded. Cyranek argued that he was faced with a "rapidly escalating situation" and that his decision to use deadly force against the now unarmed man was a "split-second" decision in response to a significant threat. He argued that it was irrelevant that Mullins was actually unarmed at the point he was killed. The Court of Appeals agreed, concluding that "it was not prudent to deny police officers qualified immunity in situations where they are faced with a threat of severe physical injury or death and must make split-second decisions..."