Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Long v. South Carolina Highway Patrol

United States District Court, District of South Carolina

December 11, 2014

Bennett K, Long, Plaintiff,
v.
South Carolina Highway Patrol; Officer Jeremy Pickens; Officer Adam Warren, Defendants.

ORDER

Richard Mark Gergel United States District Judge

This matter is before the Court on the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation ("R & R"), (Dkt. No. 50), recommending that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, (Dkt. No. 42), be GRANTED. For the reasons stated below, the Court ADOPTS the R & R as modified and GRANTS Defendants' motion.

I. Facts

On December 15, 2011, Defendant Pickens, Defendant Warren, Lance Corporal Wilson ("Wilson"), and Corporal J.S. Black ("Black") were operating a license check in Anderson County. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at ¶ 4). Plaintiff attempted to avoid this driver's license check, which resulted in a traffic chase by the Highway Patrol. (Dkt. No. 1-3 at 4-5). All four officers joined in the pursuit of Plaintiffs vehicle. (Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶ 6).

At some point during the pursuit, Plaintiffs vehicle went into a ditch. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at 7; Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶ 6). Wilson exited his cruiser and verbally ordered Plaintiff to exit his vehicle and show his hands. (Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶ 6). When Wilson reached the front of his cruiser, Plaintiffs vehicle quickly accelerated backwards, and Wilson had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. (Id.; Dkt. No. 42-2 at ¶ 7). Plaintiffs vehicle struck Wilson's cruiser. (Dkt. No. 42-6 at 7; Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶ 8). Plaintiff was then able to maneuver his vehicle out of the ditch and back onto the road, and the pursuit continued.[1] (Dkt. No. 42-2 at ¶ 7; Dkt. No. 42-5 at 1 8; Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶¶ 7-8).

Later in the pursuit, Wilson struck Plaintiffs vehicle with his cruiser and forced Plaintiffs vehicle off the road. (Dkt. No. 42-6 at 8; Dkt. No. 42-5 at 9). When Wilson attempted to exit his vehicle, Plaintiff drove his vehicle toward Wilson, which again caused him to quickly move out of the way. (Dkt. No. 42-6 at 8; Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶ 9). Plaintiff then returned to the roadway, and the pursuit continued.[2] (Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶ 8; Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶ 9). Because Plaintiff was driving recklessly, Wilson's supervisor gave him permission to forcibly stop Plaintiffs vehicle when it was safe to do so. (Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶ 9). Wilson forced Plaintiff off the right side of the road again. (Id. at ¶ 10). The officers exited their cruisers and approached Plaintiffs vehicle. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at ¶ 10).

At this point, Plaintiffs account of the incident, and the officers' accounts diverge.[3] The officers testify that Plaintiff refused verbal orders to exit his vehicle and show his hands, locked his doors to deny the officers access to his vehicle, pressed the accelerator driving his vehicle toward Defendant Pickens, and then quickly accelerated backwards towards Wilson and Defendant Warren. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at ¶¶ 10-11; Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶¶ 11-12; Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶¶ 10-13). At this point, Defendants Warren and Pickens fired their weapons at Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at ¶ 12; Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶ 13; Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶ 13). Plaintiff testifies that his vehicle was stopped, that the vehicle was in park with the ignition off, that he raised his hands, and that then, at that point, the officers began shooting at him. (Dkt. No. 1-3 at 3). Plaintiff testifies that "when the shooting stopped, I cranked the vehicle and slowly backed away and then turned around and took off again."[4] (Id.).

Plaintiff fled for two or three miles before Wilson forcibly stopped Plaintiffs vehicle again. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at ¶ 13). Plaintiff refused to follow the officers' verbal commands, and Defendant Pickens used his ASP baton to break the driver's side window. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at 14; Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶ 16). Plaintiff physically resisted and had to be removed from his vehicle by his legs. (Dkt. No. 42-2 at at 15; Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶ 16; Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶¶ 18-19). Plaintiff was handcuffed and then treated by Emergency Medical Services. (Dkt. No. 42-6 at ¶¶ 19-20; Dkt. No. 42-5 at ¶ 17).

Plaintiff was charged with (1) Assault/Assault & Battery 1st Degree for attempting to injure Wilson on December 15, 2011, "with the present ability to do so and the battery is accomplished by mean[s] likely to produce death or great bodily injury, " (2) Assault/Assault & Battery 1st Degree for attempting to injure Defendant Warren on December 15, 2011, "with the present ability to do so and the battery is accomplished by mean[s] likely to produce death or great bodily injury, " (3) Assault/Assault & Battery 1 st Degree for attempting to injure Corporal Black on December 15, 2011, "with the present ability to do so and the battery is accomplished by mean[s] likely to produce death or great bodily injury, " (4) Attempted Murder for attempting to kill Defendant Pickens on December 15, 2011, by attempting to run over him with his truck, and (5) resisting arrest on December 15, 2011. (Dkt No. 42-3). On March 21, 2013, Plaintiff pled guilty to two counts of 1st Degree Assault and Battery. (Dkt. No. 42-4).

III. Legal Standard

A. Report and Recommendation

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Ace. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)); accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).

As to portions of the R & R to which no specific objection has been made, this Court "must 'only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation."' Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee note). Moreover, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the Magistrate Judge's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.