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Studdard v. Shelby County

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 12, 2019

Angela Studdard, individually and as lawful wife, next of kin, administrator ad litem, and personal representative for Edmond Studdard, deceased, and Estate of Edmond Studdard, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Shelby County, Tennessee, et al., Defendants, Erin J. Shepherd and Terry I. Reed, individually and as employees or agents of Shelby County, Tennessee, Defendants-Appellants.

          Argued: August 6, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee at Memphis. No. 2:17-cv-02517-Jon Phipps McCalla, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          E. Lee Whitwell, SHELBY COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellants.

          Daniel A. Seward, SEWARD LAW FIRM, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          E. Lee Whitwell, John Marshall Jones, SHELBY COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellants.

          Daniel A. Seward, SEWARD LAW FIRM, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellee.

          Before: SUTTON, GRIFFIN, and READLER, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          Sutton, Circuit Judge.

         May police officers shoot an uncooperative individual when he presents an immediate risk to himself but not to others? No, case law makes clear. We thus affirm the district court's decision to deny the officers' motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity.

         I.

         Three scenes capture what happened. Each one gives the benefit of the doubt to the plaintiff's presentation of the evidence.

         Scene one. Just outside of Memphis on a hot July day in 2016, Officer Kyle Lane, a deputy in Shelby County, Tennessee, responded to a hit-and-run dispatch call. After he arrived at the accident site, several people told Lane that he should follow Edmond Studdard, who was walking away along the road. One of the bystanders told Officer Lane that Studdard had slit ...


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