Escobedo v. Bender

Court: 7th Circuit
Case Number: 600 F.3d 770
Decision Date: April 05, 2010
Case Type: Fourth Amendment

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that police officers that had used a flash bang grenade and large amounts of tear gas on a suicidal man before shooting and killing him were not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment. Escobedo, while high on cocaine, barricaded himself inside his apartment and called 9-1-1 threatening suicide. The police responded and attempted to negotiate his surrender over the phone. After back and forth on the telephone, the officers decided, in derogation of some of their own procedures, to fill the apartment with tear gas. They then entered, threw a flash bang grenade into his apartment and entered. Deciding that the suicide man was in the bedroom, they threw another flash bang grenade into his bedroom and entered. As Escobedo was lowering the gun from his own head, while deaf and blind from the flash bang grenade, two of the officers shot him dead. The court looked at analogous case law and determined that it was clear that the way the officers behaved was in violation of Escobedo’s constitutional right against excessive use of force and thus the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity.