United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
O. Hickey, United States District Judge
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.
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.
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. 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.
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
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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 ...