False arrest claim reinstated at appellate court
This week, in Wesley v. Campbell, the Sixth Circuit overturned the summary disposition that had been granted to the defendant police officer. A high school counselor had sued, arguing that he should never have been arrested for an alleged sexual assault...and that he would not have been if the arresting officer had divulged to the magistrate the exculpatory facts he had found in his investigation. The Court held that Wesley had raised a valid factual question of gross negligence with regard to the reliability of the facts used to warrant the arrest--and that there is "an apparent reason for the officer to believe that the eyewitness was lying," leaving it to the jury to determine whether immunity should apply.
In a case applying many of the same principles, Pollard v. City of Columbus, the court granted the summary disposition of another case against officers who shot the plaintiff's son 23 times "to prevent his escape." The Court pointed out that with careful analysis of the investigation, the suspect-deceased was shot after making a "shooting gesture" that left the officers with the reasonable impression that he was armed and a threat. Thus, the firing of 80 rounds at him was "constitutionally permissible" and not excessive force.