Horton v. City of Santa Maria

Troubled California man, arrested for slashing his girlfriend’s tire, is left alone in a police cell. On the phone in another room, arresting officer is allegedly told the man is suicidal. Which he is: Back in the cell, the man is hanging himself with his belt. By the time the officer returns, about 15 minutes later, the man has severe brain damage. The man sues. Ninth Circuit (over a partial dissent): It’s just not clear the officer knew enough to have had to rush back to the cell. So he gets qualified immunity on the federal claim against him. But claims against him under California law and against the city will proceed to trial.

Tags: 2019, Ninth Circuit, Police, Qualified Immunity

Sign up to receive IJ's biweekly digital magazine, Liberty & Law along with breaking updates about our fight to protect the rights of all Americans.