Lawyer held at gunpoint by police
Case: COX v. CITY OF MONTICELLO (C.D.Ill. 9-7-2011)
Plaintiff David Cox was sitting at a desk facing the door. Officer Ballard came around the corner without announcing himself, pointing his weapon around the door before showing himself. Officer Ballard did not identify himself as law enforcement. Officer Ballard asked David Cox for identification, while keeping his weapon pointed at Cox. Then, Officer Ballard noticed Plaintiffs Jonathan Cox and John Moreland, who were sitting in chairs along the wall. Office Ballard turned his weapon toward them, holding his weapon inches from the temple of Jonathan Cox, with his finger on the trigger. He then turned back toward David Cox, aiming his gun at Cox’s head and neck, with his finger on the trigger. Plaintiff David Cox told Officer Ballard to leave, but he would not do so. Officer Ballard instructed Plaintiffs not to move, but repeatedly insisted that David Cox present identification, which he did not have with him in the office. Officer Shumard appeared after several minutes, which diffused the situation, as Officer Shumard and Plaintiff David Cox recognized each other. Upon leaving, Officer Ballard challenged Plaintiffs to “take your best shot” in reporting his conduct, then left the office without apologizing.
Decision: Police officer has qualified immunity, even on the plaintiff’s version of the facts set forth above.