United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
Scott Mason, an Arkansas Department of Correction inmate
formerly detained at the Pulaski County Regional Detention
Facility (“Detention Facility”), filed this civil
lawsuit without the help of a lawyer under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Docket entry #2) Mr. Mason complains that Defendant
Crockett used excessive force against him during his arrest
and that Defendant Blocker failed to intervene to protect
him. In addition, Mr. Mason alleges that Defendants Holladay
and Morgan failed to adequately train Pulaski County
Defendants have now moved for summary judgment on Mr.
Mason's claims. (#161, #164) Mr. Mason has responded to
the motions (#168), and Defendants have replied (#169).
summary judgment, the Court rules in favor of a party before
trial. A party is entitled to summary judgment if the
evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the party on
the other side of the lawsuit, shows that there is no genuine
dispute about any fact important to the outcome of the case.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 246, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986).
November 13, 2015, Defendant Blocker initiated a traffic stop
of Mr. Mason's vehicle for fictitious plates. (#166-1 at
p.1) After Defendant Blocker identified Mr. Mason, he ran an
ACIC/NCIC check and determined that there were two
outstanding warrants for Mr. Mason's arrest.
(Id.) At that point, Defendant Blocker attempted to
place Mr. Mason under arrest. (Id.) Mr. Mason,
however, refused to comply and fled. Defendant Blocker chased
Mr. Mason on foot for approximately one-hundred
yards.(Id.; #166-2 at p.1) Defendant
Blocker eventually employed the use of a taser and
apprehended Mr. Mason without further incident. (#166-1 at
Crockett, Sergeant Brewer (not a party to this lawsuit), and
emergency personnel then arrived on the scene. (#166-2 at
p.1) The emergency personnel removed the taser prongs from
Mr. Mason, conducted a medical assessment, and released Mr.
Mason to the deputies. (Id.) Defendant Crockett
placed Mr. Mason into his patrol car and transported him to
the location of the initial stop. (#163-5 at p.65; #166-4 at
p.17) When they arrived at the place of the initial stop,
Defendant Crockett walked Mr. Mason to Defendant
Blocker's SUV. (#163-5 at p.66; #166-4 at p.17) Because
Mr. Mason was unable to walk effectively after being tased,
he was unable to step up into Defendant Blocker's SUV.
Defendant Crockett, therefore, picked him up and placed him
in the vehicle. (#166-4 at p.17) Defendant Blocker then
transported Mr. Mason to the Detention Facility.
arrival at the Detention Facility, a medical history and
screening form was completed for Mr. Mason, during which he
complained of wrist pain. Mr. Mason consistently complained
of wrist pain during his detention. According to his medical
records, on December 23, 2015, an x-ray of Mr. Mason's
hand revealed that his wrist was sprained, rather than
broken. (#163-8 at p.2) Mr. Mason was prescribed ibuprofen
for pain and scheduled for a follow-up appointment.
(Id.) Although Detention Facility officials
requested an orthopedics appointment through the Arkansas
Department of Correction, ADC officials denied the request.
(#163-9 at p.6) Mr. Mason was placed in a half-cast for six
purposes of this motion, the Court will assume that Mr.
Mason's allegations are true. According to Mr. Mason, he
told Defendant Crockett that he could not get into Deputy
Blocker's SUV because his legs were not functioning
properly after being tased. Mr. Mason alleges that Defendant
Crockett “grabbed me by the handcuffs, lifted me up,
and threw me down like a sack of potatoes.” (#166-4 at
p.18) Mr. Mason explains that when that occurred, “my
handcuff twisted, and I landed on this hand.” (#163-5
at p.30; #166-4 at p.8)
Mason's excessive force claim against Defendant Crockett
is analyzed under the reasonableness standard of the Fourth
Amendment. McKenney v. Harrison, 635 F.3d 354, 359
(8th Cir. 2011). Under the Fourth Amendment, the Court must
determine “whether the amount of force used was
objectively reasonable under the particular
circumstances.” Brown v. City of Golden
Valley, 574 F.3d 491, 496 (8th Cir. 2009). This requires
the Court to determine “whether a use of force was
reasonable by balancing the nature and quality of the
intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests
against the countervailing governmental interests at
stake.” McKenney, 635 F.3d at 359 (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted).
degree of injury suffered is also relevant to the excessive
force inquiry. Chambers v. Pennycook, 641 F.3d 898,
906 (8th Cir. 2011). “Not every push or shove, even if
it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge's
chambers, violates the Fourth Amendment.” Cook v.
City of Bella Villa, 582 F.3d 840, 849 (8th Cir. 2009).
The Court must be careful to analyze the facts without 20/20
hindsight, which ...