United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
S. BAXTER JONES Plaintiff,
CITY OF DETROIT, REUBEN FLUKER, ROBIN CLEAVER, EDWARD HUDSON, ELVIN BARREN, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGEMENT (ECF No. 58)
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case involves the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
Rehabilitation Act,  and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff,
Baxter Jones, is a wheelchair-bound individual qualified for
protections provided by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
Jones is suing the City of Detroit and certain police
officers for disability discrimination and for the use of
excessive force during his arrest. Jones says that his rights
were violated while being transported to a detention center
in an ill-equipped police van following a lawful arrest.
Court granted summary judgment for Defendants on most of the
counts of Plaintiff's complaint (ECF No. 55). It allowed
the parties to file additional briefing on Count 5, Fourth
Amendment excessive force claim against individual officers
(ECF No. 55). The individual officers that remain named are
Reuben Fluker, Robin Cleaver, Edward Hudson, and Elvin
Barren. Defendant filed a renewed motion for summary judgment
on Count 5 (ECF No. 58), and Plaintiff filed a response (ECF
No. 62). Defendants' motion is now before the Court.
who was protesting water shutoffs in the City of Detroit, was
lawfully arrested along with eight other individuals for
disorderly conduct (ECF Nos. 40, 48). The eight individuals
who were arrested were transported to a detention center on a
bus. However, Plaintiff could not be transported on the bus
due to his wheelchair (ECF Nos. 34, 40). The police officers
decided to transport Plaintiff in a van (ECF Nos. 40, 48).
The officers asked Plaintiff if they could lift him up in his
wheelchair, at the directive of Barren, and he shook his head
yes (Ex. 5, video). Hudson, Fluker, and Cleaver then lifted
Plaintiff into the back of the van. Id.
officers lifted Plaintiff into the back of the van and his
head was nearing the top of the doorframe, several voices
yelled, “watch his head!” Fluker then reached his
hand between Plaintiff's head and the doorframe, pushing
Plaintiff's head lower in order to fit him into the van.
the trip to the detention center, Plaintiff did not have a
seatbelt and his wheelchair was not strapped down. A DPD
intern, sitting in the back of the van, placed a foot against
a wheel of Plaintiff's chair (ECF No. 62-2, PageID.1438).
says he suffered injuries to his neck, hands, arms, and
shoulders as a result of the officer pushing Plaintiff's
head down to fit him into the back of the van and forcing him
to ride in the van with his head bumping into the ceiling, as
well as from gripping his hands tightly to his wheelchair to
judgment will be granted when the moving party demonstrates
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter
of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). There is no genuine issue of
material fact when the record taken as a whole could not lead
a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The Court must view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party.
Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Petroleum Specialities,
Inc., 69 F.3d 98 101 (6th Cir. 1995).
of “excessive force in the course of making an arrest
... [is] properly analyzed under the Fourth Amendment's
‘objective reasonableness' standard.”
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 388 (1989). In
“determining the reasonableness of the manner in which
a seizure is effected, the court must balance the nature and
quality of the intrusion on the individual's Fourth
Amendment interests against the importance of the
governmental interests alleged to justify the
intrusion.” Scott v. United States, 436 U.S.
128, 137-139 (1978). The “proper application [of the
Fourth Amendment's objective reasonableness test]
requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of
each particular case, including the severity of the crime at
issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the
safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively
resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by
flight.” Graham, 490 U.S. at 396. If, and only
if, the force used was objectively unreasonable should the
Court consider qualified immunity and address the second
question: whether the right violated was clearly established.
Marvin v. City of Taylor, 509 F.3d 234, 244-45 (6th