United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY
E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Bonnie London, brought this action for money damages under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 1. The named defendants are Tory
Engel, Brandon Neitzert, and Wayne Willman in their
individual and official capacities, Brule and Buffalo
Counties, and John Does 1-50. Id. Pending before the
court are two summary judgment motions. Dockets 15, 27. The
first motion was filed by defendants Buffalo County, Brandon
Neitzert, and Wayne Willman. Docket 15. The second was filed
by defendants Brule County and Tory Engel. Docket 27.
facts, viewed in the light most favorable to Bonnie London,
the non-moving party, are as follows:
January 7, 2015, Bonnie London received a phone call from her
son, Donald London. Docket 26 ¶ 2. Donald told her that
he was at her mother’s residence five to six miles
outside of Kimball, South Dakota, in rural Brule County.
Id. ¶¶ 1, 2. He stated he missed
his late wife and needed psychiatric help. Id.
¶ 2. Donald suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
Id. ¶ 14. Michael London, Bonnie London’s
ex-husband, was also at the residence. Id. ¶ 3.
Donald was upset about interactions he had with law
enforcement the day prior. Id. ¶ 14. Law
enforcement had been notified Donald was threatening to kill
the Chamberlain police chief. Id. ¶ 1.
January 6, 2015, the previous day, Bonnie London called Brule
County sheriffs’ deputies to the residence because
Donald was having an “issue” and she was not sure
if Michael would be able to “keep him under
control.” Docket 29 ¶ 3. Sheriff Darrell Miller,
accompanied by two City of Chamberlain police officers, went
to the residence. Id. ¶ 6. The officers found
Donald in the basement, cradling a rifle in his hand.
Id. ¶ 9.
Miller called Steve Smith, director of mental health, to seek
a mental health hold on Donald. Id. ¶ 14.
Rather than pursuing a mental health hold, Michael offered to
take Donald to the mental health hospital in Sioux Falls
where Donald had received treatment previously. Id.
¶ 15. Smith authorized this plan, so long as
all weapons in the house were locked up. Id. ¶
and Michael left town. Id. ¶ 17. Sheriff Miller
verified that the two actually left the city, in accordance
with the plan to get Donald treatment in Sioux Falls.
Id. But Donald and Michael stopped and turned around
at Salem instead of continuing on to Sioux Falls.
Id. They then visited a local mental health
clinician who Donald had seen in the past. Id.
¶ 18. The clinician advised Donald to cease taking all
his mental health medication. Id. ¶ 19.
following day, January 7, 2015, Michael called Sheriff Miller
because Donald was upset, believing agents from the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were coming to the
residence. Id. ¶ 21. At around 12:15 p.m.,
Michael informed Sheriff Miller that Donald had left the
residence for Kimball to retrieve guns. Id. ¶
22. At around 12:56 p.m., Michael informed Sheriff Miller
that Donald had successfully obtained guns from
Michael’s trailer home in Kimball. Id. ¶
23. He also informed Sheriff Miller that Donald was very
upset and was planning to go to Chamberlain to shoot an
officer who had pointed a gun at him the day prior.
Id. ¶ 24. Around half an hour later, Michael
told Sheriff Miller that Donald was back at the residence,
“packing up gear” in preparation to leave for
Chamberlain and carry out his threat. Id. ¶ 25.
afternoon, between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., Bonnie London
drove to the residence. Docket 26 ¶ 3. When Bonnie
London arrived, Donald was on the phone with Sheriff Miller.
Id. ¶ 4. A few minutes later, Michael notified
Donald and Bonnie London that there were vehicles in the
driveway. Id. ¶ 4. Donald became upset,
believing someone was after him. Id. ¶ 4.
Bonnie London then drove her car down the driveway to
identify the vehicles. Id. ¶ 5.
Bonnie London drove down the driveway, Special Agent Brandon
Neitzert arrived at the property. Id. ¶ 6.
Neitzert did not approach the home, but instead, interviewed
Michael Urban, Donald’s uncle. Id. ¶ 7.
Urban told Neitzert that Donald had a history of anger toward
law enforcement, and that Donald had made threats to law
enforcement in the past. Id. ¶ 8. He also
indicated Donald had fired a gun inside the home and may be
interview with Urban concluded, Bonnie London was in the
driveway. Id. ¶ 5. Unmarked law enforcement
stopped Bonnie London and searched her person. Id.
¶ 10. Neitzert ordered other officers to search her
vehicle. Id. London asserts that the officers held
her at gun point while searching her person, Neitzert did not
have a warrant to search her car, and she was not arrested.
Id. The officers seized her cell phone and car keys.
Id. ¶ 11.
Brule County Sherriff’s Deputy Tory Engel, then
escorted Bonnie London to his patrol vehicle and placed her
in the back cage. Id. ¶ 12. Engel did not
handcuff her. Id. Shortly thereafter, Neitzert
removed Bonnie London from Engel’s patrol vehicle and
escorted her to his own vehicle for an interview.
Id. ¶ 13. Neitzert placed her in the front seat
of his vehicle and did not handcuff her. Id.
the interview, Bonnie London told Neitzert that Donald had a
general dislike of law enforcement and that he had had
incidents with law enforcement on the previous two days.
Id. ¶ 14. She said he was upset officers were
currently outside the house. Id. London asserts that
she also told Neitzert that Donald was suffering from
paranoid schizophrenia, but that the situation was manageable
and he would be resuming treatment. Id.
to Bonnie London, at the end of the interview, she became
concerned because she saw armed men dressed in black and more
trucks with armed men arriving on the property. Id.
¶ 15. London asserts that she asked Neitzert if the men
were there to kill her son. Id. He did not respond.
Id. Both parties agree that Agent Neitzert informed
Bonnie London that until law enforcement knew what the
situation was at the residence, she would not be allowed to
leave the scene. Id. ¶ 16.
London was once again placed in Engel’s patrol vehicle.
Id. ¶ 17. She was not handcuffed or restrained
and was not further interviewed. Id. According to
Bonnie London, officers were instructed to hold her in the
car at the scene. Id. Eventually, the ...