Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Detention of Neighbor Justified When Officers Searched Home

Chidester v. Utah County, No. 06-4255 (3/6/08) (unpub'd) - In this civil rights suit, the 10th found the officer was justified in detaining a resident of a home next door to the one the SWAT team invaded to execute a search warrant, when the neighbor stepped out onto his front lawn. The 10th did find the officer used excessive force when he tackled the plaintiff running full speed, because it was not necessary to protect the officer's safety or maintain the status quo. But this was such a close call that the officer had qualified immunity, because the defendant was not compliant enough, "regardless of how difficult it was for the plaintiff to accomplish the task" of following the officer's command to get down on the ground and place his hands above his head simultaneously. But the suit could continue on the claims that the officers were wrong to enter the neighbor's home.