Policeman sticks his foot in the door, confrontation ensues
Case: HOGAN v. CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS (S.D.Tex. 9-22-2011)
What allegedly happened:
Plaintiff’s version of the story is markedly different. Plaintiff testified in his deposition that when he approached the door, he told Defendants that they could not come inside the apartment. Plaintiff does not remember if Defendants said anything to him before he attempted to close the door. . . .
. . .
Plaintiff testified that he did not know whether the door hit the officers. Thus, there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Plaintiff did in fact hit Officer Cunningham with the door, and whether he did so intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. Given this dispute, there is a question as to whether Defendants could reasonably believe that Plaintiff had the necessary intent to find that he had committed an assault on a public servant. The resolution of these disputes is a task for the fact finder and not the Court.
. . .
Here too, Plaintiff was inside his home when he shut the door on Defendants, who in this case, put themselves in harm’s way of the door when they crossed the threshold of Plaintiff’s home without a warrant. Thus, there are fact issues as to whether there was even an underlying felony justifying “the hot pursuit” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on warrantless entry.
Decision: Police may end up being liable here.