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Pollard v. City of Columbus

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

March 5, 2015

KATHRYN POLLARD, Individually and as the Executrix of the Estate of Abram Bynum, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CITY OF COLUMBUS, OHIO; NATHAN AMSTUTZ; EMANUEL EDWARDS; WILLIAM EDWARDS; JAMES ESTEPP; TIMOTHY O'DONNELL; MICHAEL YINGER, Defendants-Appellants

Argued January 16, 2015.

Page 396

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 397

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Columbus. No. 2:11-cv-00286--Algenon L. Marbley, District Judge.

ARGUED:

Paula J. Lloyd, CITY OF COLUMBUS, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellants.

J. Eric Holloway, ERIC HOLLOWAY LAW GROUP, LLC, Dublin, Ohio, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Paula J. Lloyd, Pamela J. Gordon, CITY OF COLUMBUS, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellants.

J. Eric Holloway, ERIC HOLLOWAY LAW GROUP, LLC, Dublin, Ohio, for Appellee.

BEFORE: McKEAGUE and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges; HOOD, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 398

McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge.

On July 7, 2009, a rape suspect led Columbus, Ohio police officers on a highway car chase before crossing the median, accelerating the wrong way, and ramming head on into a semitrailer. Officers surrounded the suspect's car and fatally shot the suspect after he reached down into the car, despite police commands to " show his hands," and then clasped his hands into a shooting posture, pointing them at the officers. The suspect's mother, Kathryn Pollard, brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against the officers, alleging excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. We reverse the district court's denial of qualified immunity because the suspect's conduct gave the officers probable cause to believe the suspect had a gun and thereby posed a threat of serious physical harm.

Page 399

I.

During the summer of 2007, Abram Bynum became a suspect in several rapes around Los Angeles, California. A swab of Bynum's DNA matched samples from five different crime scenes, and a warrant was issued for Bynum's arrest on several charges, including forcible rape, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, and kidnapping. Because Bynum had moved to Columbus, Ohio, where his twin brother lived, the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) was called to assist with the arrest.

On the morning of July 7, 2009, a team of Columbus officers, including Michael Yinger and John O'Donnell, began surveillance on Bynum. L.A. detectives were scheduled to arrive in Columbus that afternoon, and the plan was to arrest Bynum following their arrival. The team set up outside the brothers' apartment and tracked the brothers as they drove around Columbus before returning to their apartment at 3:35 PM. While the brothers were in the apartment, Yinger and another officer phoned supervisor Sergeant Terry McConnell. McConnell told the officers to arrest Bynum ...


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