United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Shequita A. Heard, Plaintiff,
City of Red Wing, Officer Justin Hesse, and Officer Nick Sather, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, the Motions are
approximately 7:00 pm on August 7, 2016, the Red Wing police
department received a 9-1-1 call complaining about drug
traffic and parking problems on Putnam Avenue in Red Wing,
Minnesota. The caller stated only that she was “tired
of people parking in front of my house to get drugs from
another house” and that she lived on Putnam Avenue; she
hung up without giving the operator any further information.
(Leyderman Decl. (Docket No. 45) Ex. 1.) Defendant Officer
Nick Sather was familiar with the area and knew that there
was a “drug house” on Putnam Avenue; he drove his
cruiser down the street shortly after the call came in.
(Hodkinson Aff. Ex. 14 (Docket No. 40-14) (Sather Dep.) at
41.) A silver vehicle that he did not recognize drove past
him. (Id. at 31-32.) He turned his cruiser around,
planning to stop the vehicle, but he was unable to catch up
to the car. (Id. at 33.) He believed the car was
trying to elude him, so he radioed dispatch and asked other
officers to be on the lookout for the vehicle. (Hodkinson
Aff. Ex. 2 (Docket No. 40-2) (Supp. Sather Report) at 1.)
minutes later, Defendant Officer Justin Hesse saw a vehicle
matching Sather's description parking outside a house on
West Sixth Street. (Hodkinson Aff. Ex. 15 (Docket No. 40-15)
(Hesse Dep.) at 36.) As he was driving toward the vehicle,
Plaintiff Shequita Heard emerged from the driver's side
of the car. Hesse stopped his cruiser in the middle of the
street and activated his lights. (Leyderman Decl. Ex. 2
(Hesse Squad Video) at 19:16:00.) Heard's brother got out
of the passenger side of the car, and together they walked
toward the home. There were several other individuals on the
home's front porch at the time.
got out of his squad car and followed Heard toward the house.
(Id. at 19:16:46.) He asked Heard to stop, telling
her that, “We had a driving complaint.”
(Id. at 19:16:56.) Heard continued walking,
eventually going up the steps onto the home's porch.
Hesse followed her onto the porch, followed by Sather, who
had also arrived on the scene. The individuals on the porch
were yelling at the officers. (Id. at 19:17:30.)
Hesse told Heard to “come over here” and she came
down the front steps onto the front yard. (Id. at
19:17:20 -:27.) Several other individuals followed Heard and
Defendants off the porch. (Id. at 19:17:32.) One of
them told Heard, “F*ck them. You don't have to talk
to them.” (Id. at 19:17:37.)
than a minute later, during the course of the parties'
conversation, Heard made a comment that caused the officers
to handcuff her. (Id. at 19:18:23.) She contends
that she told them she would “sue the f*ck out
y'all.” Sather, however, apparently believed that
she said she would “shoot the f*ck out
y'all.” Sather told Heard that she could not
“tell me that you're going to shoot me” and
put Heard's arms behind her back. (Id. at
19:18:26.) Heard's brother was recording the events on
his cell phone, and yelled, “She said sue! She said
sue!” (Leyderman Decl. Ex. 4 (Cell Phone Video) at
to Defendants, Heard continued to refuse to cooperate, and
they were forced to take her to the ground to handcuff her.
According to Heard, she did what the officers told her to do,
although she concedes that she initially pulled her arm away
when Sather first touched her. Hesse's squad video shows
both officers taking Heard to the ground less than five
seconds after Sather first pulled Heard's arms behind her
back. (Hesse Squad Video at 19:18:31.) Sather told Heard that
she was under arrest for terroristic threats and obstruction.
(Id. at 19:18:59.)
placed Heard in his squad car, and they engaged in a
conversation about what had happened. Heard told Sather that
she had said that she was going to shoot a video of them.
(Leyderman Decl. Ex. 3 (Sather Squad Video) at 19:20:40.)
Sather eventually transported Heard to the emergency room,
and according to the parties she was thereafter taken to the
county jail, where she remained for two days. Although she
was charged with Obstructing Legal Process, Disorderly
Conduct, and Threats of Violence, the county attorney
dismissed the charges. Heard claims that she required
shoulder surgery as a result of the take-down and that she
still experiences pain in her shoulder.
Complaint raises five counts. The first three are claims
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Count 1 claims First Amendment
retaliation against Hesse and Sather; Count 2 claims
unreasonable seizure and excessive force against the officers
in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and Count 3 claims
unreasonable seizure, false arrest, post-arrest detention,
and malicious prosecution against the officers, also in
violation of the Fourth Amendment. Counts 4 and 5 raise
claims under state law, specifically battery and malicious
prosecution, and are brought against the officers and the
initially named several other Red Wing police officers as
Defendants, but recently dismissed her claims against them.
(Docket No. 35.) Only Hesse, Sather, and the City remain, and
they now seek summary judgment, contending that qualified and
official immunity bar Heard's claims. Heard cross-moves
for summary judgment, arguing that there are no issues of
fact on her claims under the Fourth Amendment.
judgment is proper if there are no disputed issues of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court must view the
evidence and inferences that “may be reasonably drawn
from the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party.” Enter. Bank v. Magna Bank of
Mo., 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party
bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of
material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). A party opposing a properly supported motion for
summary judgment may not rest on mere allegations or denials,
but must set forth specific facts in the record showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986).