Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Prevatt v. THE CITY OF GAINESVILLE, Dist. Court, ND Florida 2016 (Judge Mark E. Walker)

with one comment

In my opinion, this is a terribly reasoned decision that is far too deferential toward the police officer’s tackling of an innocent suspect, which caused the suspect “significant injuries” (which the opinion does not describe in any detail).  I will leave it to any readers to read the case, and move straight into my criticisms.


  1.  Police allegedly gave conflicting commands, specifically:  (i) get on the ground; and (ii) put your hands up.
  2. Police gave the suspect gave the suspect one or two seconds only to comply before irrevocably setting their tackle into motion.  The Judge Walker muddies the water on this,* but states that it was three or four seconds between the allegedly conflicting commands and the injurious tackling, and that police could not stop from tackling the suspect even though he had stopped walking away and put his hands up at the three to four second point.  If the police officer had built up such as head of steam that he could not stop the tackle when the suspect stopped and put his hands up, then the police officer must have set the tackle in motion, at most, one or two seconds after the allegedly conflicting commands.
  3. There was no justification for the police to fail to try soft hands first before proceeding to the tackle.
  4. The court called the tackle “using non-deadly force to bring [the suspect] to the ground.”  Given the fact that the tackle cause the suspect “significant injuries,” this police-inspired euphemism for the violent tackle is misleading and betrays a biased attitude.
  5. The opinion repeats twice the irrelevant fact that the suspect had consumed twelve beers — more indication of bias unbecoming a judge.



* In the words of the opinion:  “[The suspect] is correct that only three or four seconds passed between the time that he laid down his weapons and the time he was tackled. . . .  By the time he seemingly changed his mind and tried to raise his arms in compliance, the officers were already in the process of using non-deadly force to bring him to the ground.”  In other words, the suspect was effectively given less than three or four seconds to comply.


Written by Burgers Allday

January 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. You smell like cabbage

    Barney Fife

    January 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm

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