Dispatch received a call from a girl, who stated she was barricaded in the bathroom with her family, while her mother’s boyfriend, respondent Ramon Cortesluna, was outside the door with a chainsaw and that he was going to hurt them. Police responded and knocked on the door of the house, loudly announcing their presence. Cortesluna emerged from house and listened to officer’s demand for him to drop his weapons. Cortesluna walked towards the officers and was around 10 feet away when another officer saw a knife in Cortesluna’s pocket. The officer directed Cortesluna not to lower his hands (towards the knife), but Cortesluna lowered his head and began moving his hands towards the knife. Officers then shot Coresluna twice with a bean bag gun, and after the second shot he put his hands above his head. Cortesluna laid on the ground and the officer “then straddled Cortesluna. He placed his right foot on the ground next to Cortesluna’s right side with his right leg bent at the knee. He placed his left knee on the left side of Cortesluna’s back, near where Cortesluna had a knife in his pocket. He raised both of Cortesluna’s arms up behind his back.” The officer had the individual in this position for no longer than 8 seconds.
“Whether the officer is entitled to qualified immunity because he did to violate clearly established law.
Neither the Court of Appeals nor the opposing party identified the case that would put the officer on notice that his specific conduct was unlawful. Therefore, the officer is entitled to qualified immunity, as there was not clearly established law.
“Qualified immunity attaches when an official’s conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” “Qualified immunity attaches when an official’s conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Here, neither the Court of Appeals nor the opposing party found a precedent case with a similar fact pattern as the case at hand. Therefore, the officer could not have known his conduct was unlawful thus requiring qualified immunity to apply.
2021 WL 4822664