Court Upholds Fourth Amendment Rights in Excessive Force Case

In C.B. v. City of Sonora an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether police officers violated a juvenile's Fourth Amendment rights when the officers handcuffed and removed the 11-year-old child from school grounds for "doing nothing more than sitting quietly and resolutely in the school playground." The court held that the two officers were not entitled to qualified immunity for handcuffing and removing the child from school premises.

The court first found that the officers violated the juvenile's constitutional rights by handcuffing and removing the child from the school premises when all the officers discovered was a "quiet but nonresponsive child" who "did nothing threatening or disobedient." The court then held that the right violated was clearly established because "it is beyond dispute that police officers cannot seize a schoolchild who they do not know to have committed any wrongdoing, who does not appear to pose any threat to himself or others, and who engages in no act of resistance the entire time the officers are present." The court concluded that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on the juvenile's excessive force claim.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of excessive force or police brutality, contact an experienced trial attorney at the Law Offices of Grech & Packer.