Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Swearingen v. Judd

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 18, 2019

Ivan Swearingen, Administrator of the Estate of Ryan James Swearingen; Ronda Swearingen, Administrator of the Estate of Ryan James Swearingen, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
v.
Karl Judd, Individually, and in his Official Capacity as a Police Officer for the City of Fort Madison, Iowa, Defendant-Appellee.

          Submitted: January 14, 2019

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Davenport

          Before SMITH, Chief Judge, COLLOTON and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.

          COLLOTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         This case arises from a police shooting in which a suspect was killed. The administrators of the decedent's estate sued the police officer who fired the fatal shots, alleging that he violated the decedent's constitutional rights by using unreasonable force. The district court[1] concluded that the officer's use of force was objectively reasonable and granted summary judgment for the officer. We conclude that the officer is entitled to qualified immunity, and therefore affirm the judgment.

         I.

         During the summer of 2014, Ryan Swearingen, aged 27, and his three children attended a family cookout at the home of his parents, Ivan and Ronda Swearingen, in Fort Madison, Iowa. Ryan and his children planned to spend the night at his parents' home on August 2.

         Around 1:16 a.m. on August 3, Fort Madison police captain James Carle spoke with his girlfriend by cell phone while he worked the night shift. Carle's girlfriend reported seeing a man walking outside the house that she shared with Carle. She described him walking into their backyard and then into a back alleyway, where he started slashing the tires of several parked vehicles with a knife.

         Carle drove his patrol car to the alleyway and saw a male bent over the rear driver's side tire of Carle's personal vehicle. Upon seeing Carle, the man ran down the alleyway in the opposite direction. Carle pursued the man by car and then on foot. During the pursuit, Carle used his radio to request assistance from other officers.

         Around 1:46 a.m., Carle saw the suspect enter the Swearingen residence and lock the back door. Carle notified police dispatch that he was at the Swearingen residence, and he started pounding on the back door demanding that the suspect unlock it.

         Within minutes, several officers arrived at the home. Officers Smajlovic and Riggs moved to the front of the house to prevent anyone from escaping. Carle maintained his position at the back entrance, where he was joined by Officer Karl Judd and Officer Hartman.

         Awakened by the barking of the family dog, Ivan went to the back laundry room and saw uniformed police officers banging on the door and pointing their firearms at him. Ronda, also awakened, went to the kitchen. Both Ivan and Ronda saw Ryan holding at least one knife as he moved around the first floor of the house. Through the window in the back door, officers also could see Ryan holding at least one knife. They yelled at Ryan to put the knife down, but he did not.

         Smajlovic and Riggs eventually entered the unlocked front door and made their way through the front living room and into the dining room, which opened into the kitchen. Once in the dining room, Smajlovic could see through the kitchen and laundry room to the back entrance, where Carle and the other officers were pounding on the door. Smajlovic saw Ryan holding a green-handled knife and standing to the left of the back door. He unholstered his pistol, pointed it at Ryan, and yelled, "Drop the knife." Ryan did not acknowledge Smajlovic's order. As Smajlovic and Riggs entered the kitchen, Ivan blocked their path. Seeing that Ivan was unarmed, Smajlovic holstered his pistol and used an empty-hand maneuver to engage with him.

         As Ivan blocked Smajlovic's advance, Ryan walked through the kitchen and into a side bedroom. There, he entered an adjoining walkthrough closet, which connected back to the laundry room near the back door. Meanwhile, the officers at the back entrance ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.