United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document
79) filed by Defendants, Sherlon Cone (“Cone”)
and Harrison Shaver (“Shaver”) (collectively
“Defendants”). Plaintiff, Erwin Darnell Coleman
(“Coleman”) opposes the Motion. See
Record Document 81. Defendants seek dismissal of all
Coleman's claims. For the reasons stated in the instant
Memorandum Ruling, Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment is hereby DENIED.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
morning of January 27, 2015, Shreveport Police Department
officers (“SPD officers”) arrived at
Coleman's residence after being advised by Coleman's
neighbor that he was involved in criminal activity. Also
present at Coleman's residence when the SPD officers
arrived were Defendants. Defendants' presence at the
residence during the events at issue is undisputed. At all
times relevant to these proceedings Coleman was on parole
supervision, and Defendants were employed as probation and
parole Officers by the Louisiana Department of Corrections.
undisputed that SPD officers knocked on Coleman's door,
and that when Coleman exited his residence, he was handcuffed
and arrested by SPD officers. The exact details surrounding
Coleman's arrest are disputed; however, it is undisputed
that Cone and Shaver made no physical contact with Coleman on
January 27, 2015.
alleges that SPD officers engaged in excessive force when
they arrested him. Cone and Shaver are not alleged to have
used excessive force at all against Coleman. Specifically, he
alleges that upon exiting the front of his residence, after
being prompted to do so by the SPD officers, those officers
immediately grabbed him and placed handcuffs on him. He
alleges that after he was handcuffed, one of the SPD officers
slammed him onto the concrete ground face-first, causing him
to lose three teeth and causing injuries to his abdomen and
groin areas. He further alleges that he was then kicked in
the head and lower body repeatedly. See Record
Document 81-2 at 2 & 3. According to Coleman and his
mother, Ruthie Coleman, these events lasted for over a
minute. See Record Document 81-2 at 3 & Record
Document 81-5 at 14. SPD Officer Lee testified, however, that
he effected a takedown of Coleman, and that only after taking
Coleman to the ground, did he place handcuffs on him.
See Record Document 81-4 at 121-122.
there is a dispute in this case as to whether the SPD
officers even used excessive force or not in their arrest of
Coleman, the claim of Plaintiff against Cone and Shaver is a
failure to intervene issue. Despite their observations,
Coleman alleges, Defendants failed to “intervene or
stop the use of force, ” despite having enough time to
do so. See Record Document 81-2 at 3. Because the
acts of the SPD officers during Coleman's arrest are not
at issue in this Motion for Summary Judgment, these acts,
whatever they may have been, shall hereafter be referred to
as the “Acts.” What is at issue in this Motion is
whether Defendants observed, or were even in a position to
observe, the Acts. The facts regarding this issue are
alleges that Defendants were in the immediate vicinity of the
Acts as they unfolded. See Record Document 81-2 at 2
& 3. Specifically, he alleges that he could “see
two female officers toward one end of the front porch on the
grass within 10 feet of his location. One he recognized as
Cone. Shaver was next to Plaintiff while he was being
handcuffed. Shaver was within five feet of Coleman at that
time.” Record document 81-2 at 3.
undisputed that Shaver was in the immediate vicinity of the
Acts. See Record Document 79-6 at 15. However,
Shaver denies seeing anything after the beginning of
Coleman's takedown, because he was “looking in the
other direction.” Record Document 79-6 at 11. He
alleges that after seeing the beginning of the SPD
officers' takedown of Coleman he turned to watch
“what was going on in the residence to make sure that
there was no one else in there who may be a problem . . .
.” Id. at 11 & 19. Shaver testified in his
deposition that he looked in the other direction for
“around a minute, ” and that when he turned back
around Coleman was already handcuffed. Id.at 19.
However, when Coleman's mother, Ruthie Coleman, was asked
about the behavior of those present at the scene as the Acts
occurred, she stated, “[t]hey were just looking, you
know.” Record Document 81-5 at 13.
specifically contradicts Coleman's allegations as to her
location during the Acts. She testified in her deposition
that upon arriving at Coleman's residence, she
immediately “went to the back of the residence”
because she “figured he'd run out the back.”
Record Document 79-7 at 6. She alleges that she remained at
the back “until [the other officers] said [Coleman] was
in custody.” Id. at 7-8. In support of this
testimony, SPD officer Skinner testified that at the time
Coleman was taken down to the ground by SPD officer Lee, the
two female officers were “[o]n the back of the
house.” Record Document 82-2 at 4. Additionally, the
other female officer present, SPD Officer Haley, testified in
her deposition that she was at the back of the residence with
Cone, and that Cone was not in a position to witness
Coleman's takedown. See Record Document 79-8 at
4 & 9. Shaver also testified that Cone was at the rear of
the residence; however, he further testified that he did not
recall the point in time at which Cone came back around to
the front. See Record Document 79-6 at 18. Finally,
SPD Officer Lee stated in his deposition that Cone was at the
rear of the residence during the time that SPD officers were
knocking on the front door of Coleman's residence;
however, he also stated that he was not sure whether she was
present at the time he placed the handcuffs on Coleman, as he
did not see her until Coleman had already been handcuffed and
placed in a chair. See Record Document 79-9 at 4-5.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure when “there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Quality Infusion Care, Inc. v.
Health Care Serv. Corp., 628 F.3d 725, 728 (5th Cir.
2010). “A genuine [dispute] of material fact exists
when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return
a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. at
728. During this stage, courts must look to the substantive
law underlying ...