United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
DAVID N. JAMES PLAINTIFF
ERIC CHEATHAM, et al. DEFENDANTS
OPINION AND ORDER
KRISTINE G BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
David N. James brings this action pro se under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments
of the United States Constitution against defendants North
Little Rock Police Officer Eric Cheatham (“Officer
Cheatham”) and Chief of the North Little Rock Police
Department Mike Davis (“Chief Davis”), in both
their individual and official capacities (Dkt. No. 2).
Defendants Officer Cheatham and Chief Davis move for summary
judgment (Dkt. No. 51). Mr. James has not responded to the
motion for summary judgment, despite filing several other
documents during the relevant time (Dkt. Nos. 55, 57). For
the following reasons, the Court grants the motion for
following facts are taken from Officer Cheatham and Chief
Davis's statement of undisputed material facts in support
of motion for summary judgment, to which Mr. James did not
respond (Dkt. No. 53-1). Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(c) of
the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Arkansas, all material facts set forth in
defendants' statement of material facts shall be deemed
admitted unless controverted by a statement filed by
plaintiff. Mr. James did not file a statement controverting
Officer Cheatham and Chief Davis's filing. Therefore, the
Court deems admitted the facts stated by Officer Cheatham and
James is an African-American male, who was arrested by former
North Little Rock Police Officer Cheatham on July 28, 2015,
for fleeing and failure to submit to arrest. Officer Cheatham
is also an African-American male, formerly employed as a
police officer by the City of North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Officer Bruce Moyster is a current police officer with the
City of North Little Rock, Arkansas.
28, 2015, at approximately 4:49 p.m., Officer Moyster advised
over the police radio that he was attempting to apprehend an
African-American male wearing a black shirt who was fleeing
from Officer Moyster on foot. Officer Moyster advised the
subject he was chasing was last seen around the 2100 block of
Cheatham arrived in the area of the 2100 Schaer moments
later, and Officer Cheatham began traveling west in the 800
block of West 21st Street. Officer Cheatham
observed an African-American male with no shirt quickly
walking east on West 21st Street. However, the
individual was carrying a black shirt and unknown shiny
object in his left hand. Officer Cheatham exited his car and
began walking toward the individual. The individual, later
identified as Mr. James, looked at Officer Cheatham, asked,
“What did I do?” and then fled on foot from
Officer Cheatham toward West 22nd Street. Officer
Cheatham engaged in a foot pursuit.
Cheatham gave several commands for Mr. James to stop and
identified himself as a police officer. Nevertheless, Mr.
James continued to flee. Mr. James fled toward a residence
marked “707” and Officer Cheatham briefly lost
sight of him. Officer Cheatham then noticed Mr. James hiding
in bushes; once Mr. James noticed Officer Cheatham, Mr. James
again fled south toward the opposite side of the residence.
James then lost his footing and fell to the ground; he was
then laying on his stomach with his hands, the t-shirt, and
the unknown shiny object underneath his body. Officer
Cheatham gave Mr. James two loud commands to show his hands
which remained under Mr. James's body. Mr. James refused
to comply with either command. Officer Cheatham perceived a
threat due to the shiny object and Mr. James's refusal to
the threat Officer Cheatham perceived, he deployed his
department issued Taser at Mr. James. Officer Cheatham
deployed one five-second cycle of projectile probes at Mr.
James, which struck Mr. James in his upper back and the back
of Mr. James's right arm. Following the use of the Taser,
Officer Cheatham again gave Mr. James commands to remove his
hands from underneath his body and to place them to his sides
with his palms up. At this time, Mr. James complied. The
shiny object was determined to be sunglasses. Medical
personnel responded to the scene and removed the Taser probes
from Mr. James.
Kenneth Livingston was made aware of the incident, as he was
patrol sergeant. Sergeant Livingston reviewed the incident
and spoke to witness Erma Sheard and determined that the
incident was compliant with Police Department policy. Ms.
Sheard did not indicate in her written statement any
information contrary to what Officer Cheatham relayed to
Sergeant Livingston. Chief Davis had no involvement in the
arrest of Mr. James, in the use of the Taser against Mr.
James, and was not present at the scene.
Cheatham attended Black River Technical College for law
enforcement training, ending in November 2012. He received
620 hours of law enforcement training at Black River
Technical College. Officer Cheatham received his
Bachelor's Degree in Criminology from Arkansas State
University in May 2012. Officer Cheatham was hired by North
Little Rock in August 2012 as a patrol officer. He received
inter-departmental training at the North Little Rock Police
Department on subjects including, but not limited to, Taser
Training, Racial Profiling, and Defense Tactics before the
incident involving the arrest of Mr. James in July 2015.
City of North Little Rock has specific policies regarding
officers' use of force, officers' requirements to
report uses of force, and the use of Tasers. The City of
North Little Rock investigates complaints of wrongdoing
against police officers and, where sustained, discipline up
to and including termination is imposed. Use-of-force
incidents are likewise investigated by various personnel
within the police department to determine compliance with
policy and the law.
background investigation was conducted on Officer Cheatham
prior to his hire with the City of North Little Rock. Such
investigation included a criminal history check through the
National Crime Information Center (“NCIC”) and
the Arkansas Crime Information Center (“ACIC”), a
background check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a
review of Officer Cheatham's employment history, a
psychiatric evaluation for fitness for duty, a polygraph
examination, personal interviews, and interviews with