Cops May Be Held Responsible for Burning Down Mobile Home in Botched Standoff in Tennessee

got their manA federal judge ruled a lawsuit filed by Margaret
Spradlin in Tennesee against Sullivan County and specific police
officers involved in a standoff that resulted in her mobile home
burning down can proceed, rejecting the argument that the cops
should be granted qualified immunity.

In April 2011, police were trying to arrest Spradlin’s son,
Junior, on murder charges when he led police on a chase that ended
at his mother’s home. Junior is serving 40 years after being
convicted of murder and will serve two more for the high
speed-chase. During the standoff at the mobile home, police kept
Margaret Spradlin and her daughter in various patrol cars for seven
hours.  “A reasonable jury could conclude that people held in
the back of a police cruiser with a gun pointed at them and not
allowed to leave after doing so were seized,” the judge said in his
ruling. Police spent the day throwing teargas grenades into the
mobile home, including one that started a fire in the living room
that burned the place down.

the Bristol Herald Courier:

“The Court cannot conclude that the officers are
entitled to qualified immunity regarding the force used and the
destruction of the plaintiffs’ home,” [US District Judge J. Ronnie]
Greer wrote in an opinion filed in Greeneville, Tenn. “The
reasonableness of their actions quite candidly must be decided by a
jury based on the current state of this record.”

At the same time, the judge tossed out a host of such claims as
conspiracy to inflict emotional distress, violation of free speech,
outrageous conduct and violation of due process

The county attorney will now try to make a narrower request for
immunity, of officers the county claims were only following

h/t sloopyinca

from Hit & Run

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