United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
ESTATE OF BILLY COLLINS, JR., BILLY JOE COLLINS, ADMINISTRATOR, PLAINTIFF,
STEPHEN WILBURN, Individually and in his Official Capacity, JORDAN MILLER, Individually and in his Official Capacity, GREG FUGITT, Individually and in his Official Capacity, LOUISA CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT and CITY OF LOUISA, KENTUCKY, DEFENDANTS.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WILHOIT, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 71]. The matter has been
fully briefed by the parties [Docket Nos. 71-1, 82 and 83].
For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that the
Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
case arises from the arrest of Billy Collins, Jr. on May 29,
2015 in Louisa, Kentucky. On that night, Sergeant Stephen
Wilburn of the Louisa City Police Department
("LPD") was working a local high school graduation
assigned to crowd and traffic control. [Docket No. 62,
Deposition of Sergeant Wilburn, p. 46].
the graduation ceremony concluded, as traffic was letting
out, Chief Greg Fugitt of LPD observed Collins' truck,
which had been driven over a hill, through a grassy area and
into a ditch. Id. He asked Sergeant Wilburn to
investigate, which he did. Id. at pp.46-47.
Wilburn approached Collins' vehicle and asked what was
going on and how he ended up there. Id. at p. 49. He
also obtained Collins' license, insurance information,
and ran his tags. Id. Collins was driving on a
suspended license. Sergeant Wilburn testified that he
suspected Collins may have been under the influence of
alcohol since he observed a bucket of beer on ice sitting in
the passenger seat of the truck and numerous open beer
bottles and cans strewn about the cabin. Id. at pp.
49-50, 53. Sergeant Wilburn attempted to keep speaking with
Collins while trying to conduct a field sobriety test to
ensure he was not under the influence. Id. at p. 50.
Ultimately, however, Sergeant Wilburn did not observe any
positive indications of alcohol intoxication.
and after the field sobriety test, while he was attempting to
speak with Collins, Collins was screaming and cursing at
people who were leaving the graduation, despite Sergeant
Wilburn asking him to stop. Id. at pp. 53-55. He did
not. Therefore, Sergeant Wilburn informed Collins he was
going to be charged with disorderly conduct and placed under
arrest. Id. At that time, Sergeant Wilburn filed out
a citation for disorderly conduct and for operating on a
suspended license. Id. at p.56.
placing Collins under arrest, Sergeant Wilburn did not
handcuff Collins. During his deposition, he explained that
Collins was very agitated at that point and Wilburn believed
that if he could get Collins to come sit in his patrol car
uncuffed, Collins would be more willing to cooperate.
Id. at p. 57. This proved to be correct, and Collins
agreed to sit in the back seat of the patrol vehicle.
arriving at the LPD headquarters, Collins refused to exit the
patrol vehicle, despite being requested to do so, repeatedly
by Sergeant Wilburn. Id. at p. 58. After telling
Sergeant Wilburn he preferred to stay in the patrol car, he
eventually agreed: "Fuck you motherfucker, I guess
I'll go." [Docket No. 65, Kentucky State Police
Investigative Report, p. 11, Page ID# 1010].
eventually exited the vehicle and continued cursing at
Sergeant Wilburn. [Docket No. 62, Depo. of Sergeant Wilburn,
Sergeant Wilburn escorted Collins up the ramp outside of the
police department, Collins suddenly turned and with both
hands grabbed the railing and refused to let go after
Sergeant Wilburn instructed him to do so. Id. at pp.
time, the video camera attached to Sergeant's
Wilburn's vest, commonly known as a body cam, began
recording. A CD of the recording is part of the record herein
at Docket No. 71-2. The undersigned has viewed the recording.
recording begins with Sergeant Wilburn repeatedly asked him
to let go of the railing, yet Collins refused to turn the
rail loose while screaming and yelling. Id. at p.
59; and CD of Sergeant Wilburn Body Camera Video, 20:19:40 -
Wilburn again used asked Collins to let go of the rail so
that they could go inside, to which again Collins refused.
Id. It is at this time that Sergeant Wilburn stated
to Collins that if he did not let go of the railing he would
have to cuff him behind his back. Id.
Sergeant Wilburn attempted to put a handcuff on Collins, he
only succeeded in cuffing the left wrist of Collins before he
tensed up, pulled away from the officer, and became more
agitated. Id. at pp. 59-60 and CD,
refused to physically let go of the railing and allow
handcuffs to be applied. Sergeant Wilburn warned Collins he
was going to deploy his taser should he continue to refuse
stating: "I'm gonna light you up. Let go of the rail
right now. We can do this easy or hard, come on. Billy?"
CD, 20:20:05 - 20:20:19. Collins continued to curse and yell
at Sergeant Wilburn, yelling "Bullshit! You ain't my
goddamn boss!" CD, 20:20:23 - 20:20:25. "You better
let the fuck go of me. I'm gonna get pissed off. You
ain't gonna like it." CD, 20:20:25-20:20:33.
continued to refuse to let go of the rail. Only one handcuff
was applied at this point to Collins' left wrist. Collins
then taunted Sergeant Wilburn stating, "Why don't
you go ahead and get mad. Go and get mad. I want you to get
mad. Get mad, boy. Go ahead." CD, 20:20:34 - 20:20:41.
Sergeant Wilburn was still asking Collins to "come
on" and to release the rail so that they could go
point Sergeant Wilburn radioed Officer Miller to confirm he
was on his way as backup. CD, 20:20:43 - 20:20:50. Sergeant
Wilburn again requested Collins to "let go of the
banister, " and again Collins refused, responding
"Fuck you." CD, 20:20:50 - 20:20:52.
Officer Miller pulling into LPD's parking lot, Sergeant
Wilburn again repeatedly asked Collins - almost a dozen times
in fact - to let go of the banister, and at that time pulled
his Taser to apply a drive-stun if Collins continued to
refuse while giving Collins two warnings he was going to be
tased if he did not comply. [Docket No. 62, Depo. of Sergeant
Wilburn, pp. 60, 76; CD, 20:20:52-20:21:27].
time Sergeant Wilburn issued a drive-stun to the upper
shoulder of Collins, which was not effective as Collins
immediately turned towards Sergeant Wilburn and began to
physically assault him by first striking him in the chest and
then taking a ...