United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
TIFFANY SIMPSON, Personal Representative of the Estate of Logan Wayne Simpson, Plaintiff,
JON LITTLE, in his individual capacity, IKE SHIRLEY, CITY OF BIXBY, OKLAHOMA, JANE DOE, and JOHN DOE, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY K. FRIZZELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is the Motion to Dismiss of defendant Jon Little.
[Doc. 28]. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
22, 2018, sixteen-year-old Logan Simpson and his brother,
Kyle Simpson, were sitting outside their family39;s home
with Deante Strickland in the early morning hours. [Doc. 26,
p. 3 ¶ 12]. At some point, Mr. Strickland became violent
and attacked Logan, then Kyle, with an ax. [Id.].
While Mr. Strickland was attacking his brother, Logan ran
inside the house for help. [Id., ¶ 13]. Logan
woke up his sleeping parents, telling them Kyle was being
attacked. [Id.]. Logan39;s father went outside,
separated Mr. Strickland from Kyle, and restrained Mr.
Strickland until police arrived. [Id., pp. 3-4
¶¶ 14, 17]. Logan39;s mother called 9-1-1.
[Id., p. 3 ¶ 14].
point during the chaos, Logan got in his white sports utility
vehicle (“SUV”) and left the scene.
[Id., p. 4 ¶ 16]. Noticing Logan39;s SUV was
missing from the driveway and suspecting foul play,
Logan39;s mother asked Mr. Strickland who took the vehicle.
[Id., ¶ 17]. Mr.
responded “[m]y homeboy took it.” [Id.].
Taking that to mean the SUV was stolen, Logan39;s mother
called 9-1-1 again and reported the assumed theft.
[Id., ¶ 18].
Officer Jon Little was responding to the initial call at the
Simpson home when he heard the stolen vehicle report over the
radio. [Id., p. 5 ¶ 22]. Officer Little passed
a vehicle matching the description of Logan39;s SUV on
Highway 64 and turned around to follow it. [Id.,
¶ 23]. Officer Little followed the vehicle, which was in
fact Logan39;s SUV driven by Logan himself, for some time.
[Id., ¶ 24]. Logan was not speeding or driving
erratically. [Id., ¶ 25].
Little eventually turned on his lights and siren to initiate
a stop of the SUV. [Id., ¶ 26]. Logan did not
pull over, but instead proceeded on East 176th Street in
Bixby, Oklahoma until he came to a dead end near South 89th
Street East Avenue. [Id., ¶ 27; Doc. 26-3, p.
2]. At the dead end, Logan left the roadway to turn around in
a yard. [Id., ¶ 28]. While Logan was completing
his turn, Office Little parked his patrol vehicle across the
nearby driveway. [Id., ¶ 28]. After Logan
completed his turn, he was facing East 176th Street behind a
gap created by two parked vehicles. [Id., p. 6
¶ 33]. Officer Little exited his vehicle, drew his
firearm, and ran to the side of the SUV shouting “Get
on the ground!” and “Show me your hands!”
[Id., ¶ 32]. Officer Little made eye contact
with Logan and stepped into the gap between the two parked
vehicles. [Id., ¶ 33]. As Logan pulled slowly
forward, Officer Little stepped out of the SUV39;s path and
continued to shout “Get on the ground!” and
“Show me your hands!” [Id., ¶ 34].
Officer Little continued to hold his firearm in firing
position. [Id.]. Officer Little knew that Logan was
unarmed. [Id., pp. 6-7 ¶¶ 33, 44].
Logan drove past Officer Little, the officer began firing.
[Id., p. 6 ¶ 36]. Officer Little continued to
fire as Logan drove past him and down the street, even
running after the SUV while continuing to fire.
[Id.]. A total of ten shots struck the SUV, starting
at the driver39;s side door and continuing down the side to
the rear of the vehicle. [Id., ¶ 37]. Two of
Officer Little39;s shots pierced the driver39;s side door
and entered Logan39;s body through his left hip.
[Id., p. 7 ¶ 38]. Logan continued down East
176th Street for approximately three blocks before his
injuries caused him to lose control of the SUV and drive off
the road. [Id., pp 7-8 ¶ 45]. Approximately
fifteen minutes later, other Bixby police officers found
Logan39;s SUV in high grass near South 92nd East Avenue and
East 176th Street. [Id., p. 8 ¶¶ 46-47].
passed away later that day from the gunshot wounds inflicted
by Officer Little. [Id., p. 9 ¶ 53].
Logan39;s mother brings this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1982 as the personal representative of her son39;s
estate for violation of Logan39;s Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. [Id., p. 1 ¶ 1; pp. 9-10
¶¶ 54-63]. Officer Little moves to dismiss on the
grounds that he is entitled to qualified immunity. [Doc. 28].
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Cummings
v. Dean, 3 F.3d 1227');">913 F.3d 1227, 1238 (10th Cir. 2019) (quoting
Emps.39; Ret. Sys. of R.I. v. Williams Cos., Inc.,
3d 1153');">889 F.3d 1153, 1161 (10th Cir. 2018)). In making this
assessment, the court “accept[s] the facts alleged in
the complaint as true and view[s] them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Mayfield v.
Bethards, 3d 1252');">826 F.3d 1252, 1255 (10th Cir. 2016).
“When a defendant raises the qualified-immunity
defense, the ‘onus is on the plaintiff to demonstrate
(1) that the official violated a statutory or constitutional
right, and (2) that the right was clearly established at the
time of the challenged conduct.39;”
Cummings, 913 F.3d at 1239 (emphasis omitted)
(quoting Quinn v. Young, 3d 998');">780 F.3d 998, 1004 (10th
Did the Use of Force Constitute a Constitutional
plaintiff alleges “Logan Simpson had a clearly
established right, pursuant to the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the Constitution of [the] United States of
America to be free from the use of excessive force by a
police officer.” [Doc. 26, p. 9 ¶ 55]. The Supreme
Court has held that “all claims that law
enforcement officers have used excessive force-deadly or
not-in the course of an arrest, investigatory stop, or other
‘seizure' of a free citizen should be analyzed
under the Fourth Amendment and its ‘reasonableness'
standard, rather than a ‘substantive due process'
approach.” Graham v. Connor, 386');">490 U.S. 386, 395
(1989) (emphasis original). “To state an excessive
force claim ‘under the Fourth Amendment, plaintiffs
must show both that a seizure ...