United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
MAURICE HICKS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document
15) filed by Defendants, the City of Minden (“the
City”), Officer Russell Engi (“Engi”), and
Lieutenant Seth Young (“Young”). Defendants seek
dismissal of all federal claims against Engi and Young on the
ground of qualified immunity. They seek dismissal of the
Monell claim against the City on the grounds that
there is no evidence of a deficient training program and no
evidence of deliberate indifference. Finally, Defendants seek
dismissal of the state law claims. Plaintiff Jerry Roten
(“Roten”) opposes the Motion for Summary
Judgment, arguing there are genuine disputes of material fact
on issues such as probable cause. See Record
Document 19. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for
Summary Judgment is GRANTED and all claims against Defendants
are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
March 23, 2015, Engi and Young of the Minden Police
Department were notified that there was a suspect causing a
disturbance at the Magnolia Motel located on Shreveport Road
in Minden, Louisiana. See Record Document 15-2 at
¶ 1; Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 1. The suspect had
barricaded himself inside of a room and was refusing to exit.
See id. Engi and Young were also informed that the
suspect was armed with either two axes or two swords.
See Record Document 15-2 at ¶ 2; Record
Document 19-1 at ¶ 2.
other officers, James and Curry, arrived at the scene first,
followed by Engi. See Record Document 15-2 at ¶
3; Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 3. Engi was made aware that
the suspect had been sprayed with pepper spray and had
refused to leave the room or drop his weapons. See
id. When Engi arrived on scene, he retrieved a can of
“clearout” brand tear gas that he kept in his
vehicle. See id. He deployed it in the room but the
suspect still did not exit the room. See id.
same date, Roten was at the Louisiana Fried Chicken fast food
restaurant located on Shreveport Road in Minden, Louisiana.
See Record Document 28 at ¶ D(1). He noticed
three City of Minden police cars in the Magnolia Motel
parking lot. See id. at ¶ D(2). The Magnolia
Motel is located next door to the Louisiana Fried Chicken
restaurant. See id. Roten began video taping the
police activity with his cell phone. See id. at
¶ D(3); Record Document 15-2 at ¶ 7; Record
Document 19-1 at ¶ 7. Engi's vehicle, as well as the
vehicles of James and Curry, had in place mobile video
systems that also recorded the relevant events of March 23,
2015. See Record Document 15-2 at ¶ 6; Record
Document 19-1 at ¶ 6.
his initial arrival on scene, Engi moved his patrol car so
that it was perpendicular to the entrance to the motel
courtyard. See Record Document 15-2 at ¶ 4;
Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 4. According to Engi, he did
this for two reasons: (1) to make clear that vehicles were
not to enter the motel courtyard; and (2) to assist officers
by providing cover in the event that they were required to
retreat from in front of the motel room. See id.
Young then arrived on scene and placed his vehicle to the
south of Engi's vehicle. See id. at ¶ 5;
Record Document 19-1 at ¶ 5.
was initially to the south of Young's vehicle.
See Record Document 15-2 at ¶ 8; Record
Document 19-1 at ¶ 8. Thus, he was also to the south of
Engi's vehicle, to the south of the vehicles of James and
Curry, and to the south of the motel room. See id.
Roten moved from the south of Young's vehicle between
Engi's vehicle and Young's vehicle. See
Record Document 15-2 at ¶ 9. Roten contests this fact,
submitting that he was never between any police vehicles.
See Record Document 19-1 at ¶¶ 9-10;
Record Document 19-2 at ¶ 5 (Roten Sworn Declaration).
Yet, in his earlier deposition, Roten testified:
Q. You're in between Lieutenant Young's vehicle and
Officer Engi's vehicle?
A. I am.
Record Document 19-3 at 104, lines 1-3. At approximately 3:48
of Roten's cell phone video, Roten pans his cell phone
camera from Engi to his left, i.e., south.
See Record Document 15-6 (Roten Cell Phone Video).
The video clearly captures Young's vehicle, which is
behind Roten. See id.
saw that Roten had moved between his patrol vehicle and
Young's vehicle. See Record Document 15-2 at
¶ 10. Engi submitted an affidavit attesting:
I believed that it was necessary for the safety of the
officers and Mr. Roten for Mr. Roten to remain beyond the
police vehicles and to not get between or among the police
vehicles, and initially he was in a safe location. As an
officer I have been taught to use police vehicles as
“cover.” If the suspect ran out of the room we
could retreat and engage the suspect from a position of
safety behind our vehicles. Each of the patrol vehicles were
left unlocked so they could be accessed easily, but they also
contained additional weapons and equipment.
Id. at ¶ 11, citing Record Document 15-4 at
¶ 4 (Engi Affidavit). Young shared these concerns, as
evidenced by his affidavit. See Record Document 15-5
at ¶ 6 (Young Affidavit). Young also attested that it
was unknown as to whether the suspect was armed with other
weapons such as firearms. See id. at ¶ 4. Roten
admits that Engi did not know him and did not know what
involvement he had in this incident, if any, or what risk he
may have posed to the officers. See Record Document
15-2 at ¶ 13.
communications between Roten and the officers are recorded,
both on the MVS recording as well as the cell phone video.
See Record Document 15-2 at ¶¶ 16, 18;
Record Document 19-1 at ¶¶ 16, 18. Defendants have
submitted a transcript of the pertinent portions of the
interaction between Roten and the officers. See
Record Document 15-2 at ¶ 18; Record Document 19-1 at
¶ 18; Record Document 15-8. Roten “admits the
accuracy” of the transcript cited by Defendants in
their Statement of Undisputed Facts. Record Document 19-1 at
¶ 18. The transcript of the communications is set forth
Engi: Get behind the police car.
Engi: Get behind the police car.
Roten: I'm not interfering with you.
Engi: This is a, this is a crime scene get behind the police
Roten: I'm behind two police cars, I'm behind three
Engi: Get behind them both.
Roten: I'll tell you what buddy. You're pushing it
Engi: Sir, you don't seem to understand. Get behind the