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Williams v. Holley

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 25, 2014

Roseetta Williams, Individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of Cletis Williams, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Nicholas Holley, Personally and in his Official Capacity as Police Officer for Jonesboro Police Department, Defendant - Appellant, City of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Defendant

Submitted June 10, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Jonesboro.

For Roseetta Williams, Individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of Cletis Williams, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jessica Ann Virden Mallett, Peter Miller Law Offices, Little Rock, AR.

For Nicholas Holley, Personally and in his Official Capacity as Police Officer for Jonesboro Police Department, Defendant - Appellant: Clyde Burt Newell, Law Offices of C. Burt Newell, Hot Springs, AR; Ralph Charles Ohm, Hot Springs, AR.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BYE and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 977

BYE, Circuit Judge.

Roseetta Williams (Roseetta) filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against former Jonesboro, Arkansas, Police Officer Nicholas Holley (Holley) in his individual capacity, alleging Holley used excessive force in tasing and shooting Cletis Williams (Cletis), Roseetta's father. Holley moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. The district court[1] denied the motion. We affirm.

I

On October 31, 2011, Holley was on patrol when he noticed Cletis arrive at his residence. Holley knew of Cletis and was

Page 978

aware Cletis had twenty-three outstanding arrest warrants.[2] Holley waited until Cletis entered the residence and then approached Cletis's home and knocked. Cletis did not answer at first, but responded once he realized Holley had spotted him.

At the door, Holley tried to talk Cletis into exiting the trailer. Cletis refused and would only talk to Holley through a closed screen door. Holley informed Cletis about the warrants and told Cletis he was going to be arrested. Cletis complained about being arrested and asked Holley to " cite [him] to court" instead, claiming he had business with the federal court. Cletis opened the screen door and offered two envelopes to Holley to support this claim. Holley refused to take the envelopes because they were unopened.

Holley then grabbed Cletis's left arm and told Cletis he was under arrest. Cletis pulled back into the trailer, dragging Holley, who held onto Cletis's arm, inside. Holley then attempted to handcuff Cletis. He pushed Cletis's face into the wall and forced Cletis's left arm behind his back, ordering Cletis to put his right arm behind his back. Cletis refused to move his right arm, but did not attempt to fight Holley. Deeming the situation an impasse, Holley pushed Cletis away from him. Cletis ended up standing ...


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