Remand from the United States Supreme Court D.C. No.
Before: Susan P. Graber and Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit
Judges, and Algenon L. Marbley, [*] District Judge.
a remand by the United States Supreme Court, the panel
affirmed the district court's summary judgment in favor
of a police officer in an action brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the officer used excessive
force when he grabbed plaintiff and took him to the ground
during an investigation of a reported domestic violence
panel held that it was unable to find a specific case
precisely on point that would establish that the
officer's conduct violated a clearly established
constitutional right of which a reasonable official would
have known, and therefore the officer was entitled to
qualified immunity. The panel stated that although plaintiff
posed no apparent danger to the police officer, it was
mindful of the Supreme Court's conclusion that a case
involving police force employed in response to mere
"passive resistance" to police was not
sufficiently on point with this case as to satisfy the
Court's demand for specificity.
district court granted summary judgment in favor of the City
of Escondido and several Escondido police officers in this 42
U.S.C. § 1983 action. Emmons v. City of
Escondido, 168 F.Supp.3d 1265, 1276 (S.D. Cal. 2016). We
affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that Officers
Toth and Craig were not entitled to qualified immunity. 716
Fed.Appx. 724, 726 (9th Cir. 2018) (unpublished). The Supreme
Court granted certiorari, reversed our decision as to Officer
Toth, and vacated and remanded as to Officer Craig. 139 S.Ct.
500, 502 (2019) (per curiam). We ordered supplemental
briefing on the following question: Did "clearly
established law prohibit the officers from stopping and
taking down a man in these circumstances?" After
considering that briefing, we affirm the district court's
grant of summary judgment in favor of Officer Craig.
time this action was filed, Maggie Emmons lived in Escondido,
California, with her husband, their two children, and a
roommate, Ametria Douglas. In April 2013, Maggie called 911,
accusing her husband of domestic violence. Emmons,
139 S.Ct. at 501. Escondido police arrested the husband, but
he was never prosecuted. Id.
2013, Douglas was on the phone with her mother. After the
call dropped, Douglas's mother called 911 to report what
she believed was an on-going fight at the apartment. The
Escondido police were asked to conduct a welfare check.
Officer Craig was one of the responding officers.
the Escondido officers arrived on the scene, they found
Douglas with the Emmons children at the swimming pool complex
of the apartment. Douglas told the officers that everything
was fine and that they were not needed. The officers
proceeded to the apartment nonetheless. Maggie and her
father, Marty Emmons, were watching television. Although
Marty urged her to cooperate, Maggie refused to allow the
officers to enter the apartment despite their repeated
then emerged from the apartment, and the physical encounter
with Craig that is the subject of this case ensued. The
parties dispute what happened and, on this appeal from an
adverse summary judgment, we must take the facts in the light
most favorable to Marty. Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S.
650, 655-57 (2014) (per curiam). Marty testified that he
stepped out of the apartment with his back to the exterior
hallway and began to close the door. He could not see any
officers by the door and did not hear anyone telling him to
keep the door open. He first knew that Craig was there when
Craig grabbed him and threw him to the ground. Douglas, who
was watching from the pool, described the interaction as one
in which "Mr. Emmons was pulled out of the door,"
and "tackled to the ground."
police body cameras recorded Craig saying the following:
"Hi. How you doing sir? Don't close the door. Get
your hands behind your back. Get on the ground, get on the
ground, get on the ground." The ...