from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Florida D.C. Docket No. 3:14-cv-02127-HLA-MCR
JORDAN, ROSENBAUM, and DUBINA, Circuit Judges.
ROSENBAUM, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
apparent reason, Plaintiff-Appellee Matthew Hinson stabbed a
man he did not know in the neck during a chance encounter at
a pub. As the man laid on the ground bleeding to death,
Hinson calmly walked to the parking garage, got into his
truck, and began to leave. But at the garage's checkout
booth, Defendants-Appellants Jacksonville Sheriff's
Office Officers caught up with him.
28 U.S.C. § 1983 action, Hinson alleges that the
Officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights by employing
excessive force in effecting his arrest. He also asserts that
the Officers transgressed his Eighth Amendment rights by
being deliberately indifferent to medical needs he
purportedly experienced as a result of the force inflicted
during the arrest.
support of his claims, Hinson relies on surveillance footage
of the parking area, as well as his father's sworn
interpretation of that same surveillance recording. For their
part, the Officers deny that they used excessive force, and
they support their version of the facts with their sworn
statements recounting what happened during the arrest. In an
interesting twist, they also rely on the same video recording
as Hinson, in addition to Hinson's medical records.
what looked at first like a tale of two stories turns out to
be but a single one, uncontradicted in any material way by
any admissible evidence in this case. And under that single
rendition of the facts, the Officers here did not use
excessive force to effect Hinson's arrest. Nor were they
deliberately indifferent to Hinson's medical needs. For
these reasons, the Officers are entitled to qualified
immunity, and we vacate the district court's contrary
the day ended tragically, October 6, 2012, started out
usually enough for Plaintiff-Appellee Matthew Hinson. He
completed his shift as a cook at the Hyatt Regency in
downtown Jacksonville at around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. Then he
went home, where his wife was, and watched the end of a
football game. After that, Hinson went for a few hours to his
friend's house down the road, where he had several beers.
While he was there, Hinson's wife, who had since gone to
Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub and Restaurant at the
Jacksonville Landing, started calling and texting him to pick
eventually left his friend's home and went over to Fionn
MacCool's. But when he arrived at the restaurant, his
wife was not yet ready to leave. So Hinson took a seat at the
bar and had another beer or two.
point, Hinson encountered Chris Pettry, a man he had never
previously met, in the restaurant. The trigger, if any, for
what occurred next is unclear: Hinson grabbed his pocket
knife, stabbed Pettry in the neck, and inflicted a four-inch
laceration wound on one side of Pettry's throat. Pettry
died soon after, as a result of this wound.
stabbing Pettry, Hinson left Fionn MacCool's and headed
for the parking garage. At the garage, Hinson got into his
truck and drove to the checkout booth, where officers
arrested him. Hinson testified that he remembered nothing at
all about his arrest after he put his hands up in response to
officers' commands. So the sources of evidence concerning
what happened during the arrest consist solely of the
participating officers' statements and video surveillance
footage. We review them below.
The Officers' Statements
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office ("JSO") Detective
Z.M. Anderson and Officer B.K. Kremler responded to the scene
after learning of the life-threatening stabbing. At the time,
they knew of the suspect's description and whereabouts
from a witness. Anderson and Kremler caught up with the
suspect, who turned out to be Hinson, at the parking garage
around midnight, as Hinson sat in his truck and tried to pay
for his parking. According to Anderson, when he and Kremler
approached Hinson's truck with their guns drawn, the
engine was still on. Anderson saw Hinson, sitting in the
truck. And he noted that Hinson matched the description of
the suspect the officers had received.
and Kremler attested that Kremler instructed Hinson to put
his hands up where the officers could see them. But, the
officers stated, Hinson did not comply. So Kremler continued
to tell Hinson to put his hands up. Eventually, Hinson raised
his left hand, but Kremler was unable to see Hinson's
other hand. Finally, the officers reported, Hinson put both
this was occurring, two more JSO officers arrived on the
scene in response to a radio dispatch about the
life-threatening stabbing. Defendant-Appellant Officer S.T.
Williams first went to Fionn MacCool's, where he saw the
victim lying in a pool of his own blood, apparently dead.
Then Williams learned that Anderson and Kremler had found
Hinson. So he went to the parking garage to see if he could
be of assistance.
Williams met up with Defendant-Appellant Officer R.A. Bias,
who had arrived at the garage and had run to the driver's
door of Hinson's truck. Bias, too, drew his gun and
pointed it at Hinson. He then commanded Hinson to keep his
hands up and get out of the truck, facing away from Bias (for
officer safety). Hinson did not respond, so Bias continued
instructing Hinson to leave the truck. At some point, Bias
opened the truck's door, and after some time passed,
Hinson finally put one leg on the ground. Bias took
Hinson's hand and extracted him from the truck.
and Hinson left the confined area between the truck and the
checkout booth, Bias told Hinson to turn around and face away
from him, so Bias could handcuff Hinson. Instead, Hinson
continued moving towards Bias. Again, Bias commanded Hinson
to stop and turn around. But Hinson again did not comply.
who could see this occurring, attested that he then became
concerned for Bias's safety, since Bias no longer had his
weapon drawn, Bias was significantly smaller in stature than
Hinson, and the officers had no way of knowing whether Hinson
was armed. So Anderson grabbed Hinson's wrist and
shoulder and performed a police maneuver known as a
"straight arm bar takedown." As a result, Hinson
was in a prone position on the ground, next to the checkout
Hinson was down, Bias stated, Bias attempted to handcuff him.
Towards this end, Bias repeatedly instructed Hinson, whose
hands were under him, to release his hands. But according to
the officers, Hinson would not cooperate. Instead, Hinson
struggled to keep his hands underneath his body.
started to become concerned that Hinson might be trying to
reach a weapon while his hands were under his body. So to
induce compliance with Bias's directive to Hinson to
produce his hands for handcuffing, Bias made "five or
six hammer strikes" to Hinson's upper-mid back area. In
addition, Anderson gave one "pain compliance strike to
Hinson's face" to obtain Hinson's cooperation.
Hinson then released his hands from underneath his body, and
Bias handcuffed him.
officers who viewed the arrest stated that once Hinson was
handcuffed, no officer used further force against him, and
all the officers denied using or seeing any other officer use
a flashlight to administer the strikes or otherwise to hit
Hinson. Nevertheless, Anderson, Bias, and Williams conceded
that Hinson sustained abrasions to the skin on his left
cheek, eye, and forehead, from the pavement, as a result of
the officers' arrest efforts.
Hinson was handcuffed, JSO Sergeant William Janes arrived on
the scene. Janes attempted to get Hinson to stand, so he
could place Hinson in his patrol car. According to Janes,
however, Hinson refused to comply. Instead, Hinson fell to
the ground. So Janes picked up Hinson, and Hinson then walked
to Janes's patrol car on his own. Kremler and Williams
attested that they saw these events, and while they were
occurring, Hinson never lost consciousness. Along with
Anderson, Bias, and Janes, Kremler and Williams also insisted
that Hinson never requested medical attention and that they
never perceived him as requiring it.
officers secured Hinson in the patrol car, they found a large
knife wedged between the driver's seat and the console
inside Hinson's truck. Another knife laid on the ground
by the driver's door. JSO later determined that the knife
found on the ground next to the truck was the knife used to
cut Pettry's throat earlier that evening.
drove Hinson to the Police Memorial Building, where Janes
turned Hinson over to homicide detectives. At no point during
the arrest was Defendant-Appellant JSO Lieutenant Rob
The Video Recordings
surveillance video taken at the checkout booth does not
include audio. But to the extent that its limited view
allows,  the video is, for the most part, not
inconsistent with the officers' description of what
occurred during the arrest.
shows that while Hinson was at the checkout booth, Officers
approached his truck with guns drawn and pointed them at
Hinson in his truck. Roughly seven seconds later-enough time
for officers to repeatedly instruct Hinson to put his hands
up-Hinson put his left hand up and outside his truck's
time, Hinson dropped out the window what later turned out to
be a knife. None of the Officers reported seeing Hinson drop
the knife out the window. Anderson, however, attested that he
saw a knife fall from Hinson's lap to the ground, when
Hinson left the truck. Since only one knife was recovered
from the ground, the knife Anderson purported to see fall
from Hinson's lap must have been the knife that Hinson
actually dropped out the window. This is the one
inconsistency between the video footage and the Officers'
testimony that our review of the evidence reveals. As we
discuss later, though, it does not concern a matter that is
material to the granting of summary judgment here.
Hinson dropped the knife out the window of his truck, he held
his left hand up for about twelve seconds before reaching
that hand back into the truck and out of the Officers'
views. A couple of seconds later, Hinson again put his left
hand outside the driver's window of his truck. Seven
seconds after that, Hinson put both hands up and outside the
driver's window. Again, these intervals would have
permitted sufficient time for the Officers to have repeatedly
instructed Hinson to put his hands up.
another thirty seconds passed before an officer opened the
truck's door. This period also was more than enough time
for Officers to have repeatedly instructed Hinson to leave
the truck. Then another eight seconds went by, and Hinson put
one foot outside the truck. After seven more seconds, an
officer took Hinson's arm and pulled him from the truck.
During the next several seconds, Hinson moved back in the
direction of the officer who had his arm.
another Officer moved close to Hinson and took him down to
the ground. Once Hinson was on the ground facedown, an
Officer straddled Hinson's back and appeared to reach
down by the side of Hinson's body in a manner that would
be consistent with trying to find Hinson's arms so he
could cuff Hinson.
seven seconds later, the same Officer struck Hinson on the
back. Two seconds after that, the Officer again struck Hinson
on the back. Another second went by, and the Officer struck
Hinson on the back a third time. Then, a second later,
another Officer struck Hinson in an area consistent with
where Hinson's head would have been, had the view not
been obstructed. Finally, after another second, the first
Officer hit Hinson on the back a fourth and fifth time.
next second, that Officer began to sit up and to work with
his hands behind Hinson's back. For the next about twenty
seconds, the Officer engaged in activity consistent with
cuffing Hinson, though the video is of such poor quality that
even after reviewing it frame by frame, we cannot confirm
with certainty precisely what the officer was doing.
Nevertheless, the recording reflects nothing inconsistent
with the Officers' statements concerning Hinson's
takedown and cuffing, and it does not show that any Officer
used a flashlight to hit Hinson.
little while after Hinson was cuffed, another Officer arrived
and stood Hinson up. Hinson then fell down. While Hinson was
on the ground, the Officer who had stood Hinson up used his
foot to apparently tap Hinson's back. About nine seconds
after Hinson fell to the ground, two Officers stood Hinson up
again and placed him in the patrol car.