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Goffin v. Peek

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division

January 23, 2018

DAVDRIN GOFFIN PLAINTIFF
v.
RANDY PEEK, individually and in his official capacity as Police Chief for the city of Warren; CITY OF WARREN; ROBBIE K. ASHCRAFT, individually and in her official capacity as a law enforcement officer of the city of Warren; BRYAN MARTIN, individually and in his official capacity as mayor for the city of Warren; and JOHN DOES 1-10 DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge

         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants. ECF No. 48. Plaintiff has responded. ECF. No. 53. This matter is ripe for the Court's consideration.

         BACKGROUND

         Davdrin Goffin was shot by police officer Robbie Ashcraft. He brings this action for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Ashcraft; Randy Peek, who is the police chief; Bryan Martin, who is the mayor of Warren, Arkansas; and the city of Warren. Goffin alleges an excessive use of force claim against Ashcraft. Plaintiff also brings claims for failure to train and failure to supervise, for violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as state law claims for outrage, battery, and negligence and for violations of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act. Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment on all claims.

         Officers Robbie Ashcraft and Aaron Hines responded to a residential burglary call at the home of Tommy Reddick, Goffin's uncle by marriage. Reddick reported to Ashcraft and Hines that Goffin had come to Reddick's house earlier in the day and told Reddick that he dropped his gun while running from the police. Reddick stated that Goffin then demanded Reddick's gun but he did not comply with the demand. Reddick further reported that later that same day, while he was away from his home for thirty minutes, Goffin entered Reddick's home through the back window, kicked in his bedroom door, and took two guns (a 9mm pistol with clip and a .38 snub nose pistol), a box of bullets, and a bottle of hydrocodone.[1] Reddick told the officers that Goffin was “out of control.” Ashcraft knew of Goffin from previous dealings with him and knew that Goffin had an active arrest warrant for aggravated robbery at the time Reddick reported the burglary. Ashcraft told Reddick that “we've been looking for [Goffin], ” and Reddick responded that they should be ready to fight when they find him.

         After Ashcraft took Reddick's statement and as she was preparing to leave Reddick's house, she saw a black truck being driven by a black male drive by the residence. Ashcraft, who had parted ways with Hines, followed the truck to its destination and asked the driver, Dwayne Moore, if he had seen Goffin. Moore reported that Goffin, who smelled of alcohol, had flagged him down and jumped in Moore's truck. Moore told Ashcraft that Goffin asked Moore to take him to the car wash and that, when Moore hesitated, Goffin demanded a ride to the car wash and told Moore that he had two guns. Goffin reportedly pulled out either a 9mm or 40-caliber pistol and then pulled out either a .22 or .38 caliber pistol. Moore told Ashcraft he was afraid that Goffin was going to rob him and that Goffin looked as if he would “take [Moore] out, ” so he took Goffin to the car wash. Moore also told Ashcraft that Goffin had a gun in each pocket.[2]

         After Ashcraft finished taking Moore's statement, Hines called Ashcraft to tell her that Goffin had been seen at a specific body shop. Ashcraft and Hines met at the body shop and walked together toward Goffin's suspected location. They approached a crowd of people standing in and around the parking lot and asked where Goffin was. The body shop owner pointed to the garage door. As they approached the garage door, they heard a voice coming from a car parked by the garage door. Ashcraft saw Goffin sitting in the front passenger seat of the car. Both officers drew their guns and approached the vehicle. Ashcraft walked to the driver's side and Hines to the passenger side. As Hines made it to the front of the car, he holstered his weapon and grabbed his Taser gun. Both Ashcraft and Hines ordered Goffin to show his hands. Hines asked Goffin to keep his hands up and exit the car. Goffin stepped out of the vehicle with his hands slightly raised. Hines moved Goffin to the rear of the car while Ashcraft kept her weapon out. Ashcraft saw something “bumping in [Goffin's] right front pocket.”

         At the rear of the vehicle, Hines ordered Goffin to put his hands on the trunk of the car while Ashcraft continued to provide lethal cover for Hines. As Hines attempted to handcuff Goffin, he extended his left arm, and attempted to run. According to Goffin, he was patted down by Hines and then Goffin began to run. The fact that a pat down occurred is disputed by Hines and Ashcraft; however, the Court will view this fact in the light most favorable to Goffin and assume the pat down by Hines occurred. It is undisputed that Hines removed nothing from Goffin's pockets.

         Goffin attempted to run toward the street near an area where several people were standing. As Goffin was attempting to run, Ashcraft saw his right shoulder raise and could not see Goffin's hands. Ashcraft fired one shot, hitting Goffin's lower back. Hines then handcuffed and searched Goffin, finding a loaded 9mm pistol magazine in Goffin's pocket and a box of bullets in another pocket. The parties dispute in which pocket the loaded magazine was found. Hines states that he found the magazine in Goffin's right front pocket. However, the Court will view this fact in the light most favorable to Goffin, and assume the magazine was in Goffin's back pocket as he states in his deposition. Inside the car, officers found a 9mm pistol and .38 revolver within arms' reach of the seat where Goffin was sitting when he was discovered by Hines and Ashcraft. Goffin was transported to the hospital by ambulance, and he survived the gunshot wound.

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that when a party moves for summary judgment:

The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Krenik v. Cnty. of LeSueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995). The Supreme Court has issued the following guidelines for trial courts to determine whether this standard has been satisfied:

The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is a need for trial-whether, in other words, there are genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.

Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); see also Agristor Leasing v. Farrow, 826 F.2d 732 (8th Cir. 1987); Niagara of Wis. Paper Corp. v. Paper Indus. Union-Mgmt. Pension Fund, 800 F.2d 742, 746 (8th Cir. 1986). A fact is material only when its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party. Id. at 252.

         The Court must view the evidence and the inferences that may be reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Enter. Bank v. Magna Bank, 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. The nonmoving party must then demonstrate the existence of specific facts in the record that create a genuine issue for trial. Krenik, 47 F.3d at 957. A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment ...


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