J W v. Birmingham Board of Education

Allegation: Birmingham, Ala. school resource officers have a nasty habit of pepper spraying and then failing to help decontaminate students. District court: That calls for a change in policy. Eleventh Circuit (over a partial dissent): Reversed. By our calculation, students have a 1.6 out of 10,000 chance of being unconstitutionally sprayed. That’s not frequent enough for class action plaintiffs to have standing. And we don’t need to decide if there’s a constitutional violation; it wasn’t clearly established that the alleged conduct was unlawful; qualified immunity applies. (A handful of individual students can keep the $5k damages awarded to them, though.)

Tags: 2018, Eleventh Circuit, Excessive Force, Fourth Amendment, 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.