Qualified Immunity Protects Cops Who Arrested and Assaulted Man for Standing Outside His Home
Article from Reason by Billy Binion.
Two police officers who allegedly assaulted a man outside of his own house and arrested him on bogus charges after failing to identify themselves as law enforcement are protected by qualified immunity and cannot be sued, a federal court confirmed Monday.
Shase Howse, the appellant, alleges that on July 28, 2016, a group of men pulled up to his home in an unmarked vehicle without uniforms on and asked him if he lived at the residence. After Howse answered in the affirmative, Officer Brian Middaugh of the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) pressed Howse on if he was sure he lived there. “Yes, what the fuck?” Howse allegedly responded, still unaware Middaugh was a cop. Middaugh, commenting on Howse’s bad attitude, then exited the unmarked vehicle and approached him on the porch, asking him once again if he lived there. Howse said he did.
Following that exchange, Howse alleges that Middaugh commanded him to put his hands behind his back because he was going to jail. Howse did not oblige, telling Middaugh that he lived at the residence and that he’d done nothing wrong. Middaugh then threw him to the ground, and with the help of CPD Officer Thomas Hodous, handcuffed him while Howse resisted. It was after he was tackled that Howse realized the men were police officers.
As he lay on the porch, Howse’s mother, who heard the noise from inside, exited the residence, where she says she saw one man straddling her son while another punched his head with a closed fist, causing Howse’s head to hit the porch. She, too, did not initially realize they were officers.
NOTE: Howse was jailed for several days before he was able to post bond. Charges were eventually dropped.
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons