Today the Sixth Circuit found that Pontiac Michigan Police Officer Dwight Green used reasonable force in this case involving the stop of a motorist and his forceful removal of the driver. Hayden, the driver, was involved in an accident with another motorist and left the scene without giving his contact information or speaking to the police. Officer Green spoted Hayden a short ditance from the accident and attempted to stop him. When that failed, he used more forceful actions that Hayden objected to and that were the subject of this federal lawsuit.
The question is whether there was any constitutional violation here. In Hayden’s view, Green violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on “the use of excessive force by arresting and investigating officers.” Smoak v. Hall, 460 F.3d 768, 783 (6th Cir. 2006). We decide that issue based on “the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989). In evaluating whether an officer’s use of force was reasonable rather than excessive, we consider “the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” Smoak, 460 F.3dat 783 (internal quotation marks omitted). “This standard contains a built-in measure of deference to the officer’s on-the-spot judgment about the level of force necessary in light of the circumstances of the particular case.”
The Court found that Officer Green is immune from suit.