CASE LAW UPDATE: Qualified immunity remains where law not clearly established
Officer conducted a pat down search of a suspect during which nothing was found. A pat search may be conducted where there is a reasonable suspicion that a person is armed and dangerous. The suspect then ran towards bystanders and appeared to be pulling something from his waistband. The police officer shot the suspect in the back. Subsequently, the law was established that a pat down search that removes nothing from a suspect eliminates an officer’s probable cause that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that because it was not clearly established at the time of the shooting that a pat down search that removes nothing from a suspect eliminates an officer’s probable cause that the suspect is armed and dangerous, the police officer was entitled to qualified immunity. Affirmed.
Goffin v. Ashcraft, 18-1430, Kobes, J. Appealed from the United States District court, Western District of Arkansas.
Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.