Filous v. Dunbar (6th Cir. Ohio 2019) 2019 US Dist. LEXIS 80302

PSD Deployment as Pain Compliance; Excessive Use of Force; Qualified Immunity

LE was dispatched to an armed robbery in which defendant was suspect. Dispatch also informed LE that defendant had mental issues and was drinking beer. Traffic stop was conducted; defendant remained in his vehicle for approximately 50 minutes, drinking beer and ignoring the commands of LE to exit. Defendant finally exited the truck to urinate. A sergeant on scene tackled defendant without informing other LE present of his plan. Therefore, the sergeant’s actions startled the other LE on scene. Defendant was now on the ground with his arm underneath him and LE could not tell if he was in possession of a weapon. Three blows to the head did not obtain compliance nor did three drive stuns with a Taser. PSD then released as a pain compliance tool. PSD bit defendant’s leg. Defendant kicked PSD and was struggling so PSD refused to release on command. Handler used a gag stick to get PSD to disengage. LE was finally able to subdue defendant and determined that the firearm was in the vehicle, but loaded. Court held that the release of the PSD was reasonable response to severity of threat faced by all LE on scene and, in addition, handler was entitled to qualified immunity.