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7th Circuit affirms judgment for officers in diabetic man’s case

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the City of East Chicago and police officers on an estate’s excessive force and other claims, finding the officers had reasonable suspicion that a diabetic man who was having a hypoglycemic episode was possibly intoxicated.

The estate of Jerome Clement sued the City of East Chicago, its police department and the chief of police for wrongful arrest, excessive force, failure to train police officers, and condoning the use of excessive force. Clement was a diabetic and had an episode in August 2006 while driving, in which he ended up incoherent and unresponsive in a parking lot. Police called to the scene thought he was intoxicated, as he had bloodshot eyes and they smelled alcohol in the car.

Clement did not respond to commands and gave incoherent responses, so police used mace and batons to subdue him and put him in handcuffs. While trying to handcuff Clement, he began to flail and hit his head against the payment. Police later called an ambulance after seeing blood on his face. The paramedic found his blood sugar to be low and Clement was taken to the hospital. He died of natural causes two weeks later.

During the incident, Clement wasn’t wearing a medical identification necklace or bracelet, and police didn’t check his pockets to see that he had a card noting that he was a diabetic.

The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the federal claims and remanded the state claims to state court.

In William Padula, administrator of the estate of Jerome Clement v. Timothy Leimbach, et al., No. 10-3395, the 7th Circuit panel, noting that they respectfully recognize the tragic circumstances surrounding Clement’s death, affirmed summary judgment. They found the District Court correctly concluded that the officers had probable cause to arrest Clement because they had probable cause to believe he had driven while intoxicated. The police dispatcher indicated that Clement was intoxicated and some of the officers smelled alcohol in his car. Clement had bloodshot eyes and didn’t comply with requests to get out of his car. These are similar characteristics to that of someone who is intoxicated, wrote Judge Joel Flaum. The judges also noted that Clement wasn’t wearing a medical identification necklace or bracelet that would have alerted the officers that he was diabetic.

Also, officers didn’t call an ambulance because they suspected Clement of having a medical episode, as William Padula contended, but did so because of the blood on Clement’s face.

The District Court was also correct to conclude that the officers’ use of force wasn’t excessive. There’s no evidence that police threw Clement to the ground, or used more force than necessary to control the situation and handcuff Clement. And while Padula pointed to Clement’s death, presumably as evidence of the excessive force, the coroner’s report stated Clement died of natural causes, wrote the judge.

Padula’s claims for failure to adequately train the officers and for condoning and ratifying excessive force fail because the underlying claims for wrongful arrest and excessive force also fail, wrote Judge Flaum.

The 7th Circuit affirmed the decision to remand Padula’s remaining state law claims to state court.

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  • bad trend
    Gee, I would be scared as hell now if I were diabetic. Or had a disability that might mistake a cop into thinking that I had refused one of their precious orders so now I had to be maced, tazed, and beat the crap out of until I was sufficiently punished to never make that mistake again! No need for police to respect due process is the implicit message of this. Dispense with the charges and judicial system if you think someone is refusing an order, don't pause and think, just be a meathead and just go ahead and overreact. Bad trend of this folks, bad trend. Only hope I guess is that good cops will try and rein in their own.
  • More BS
    Thug cops continue to overstep their authority and the courts keep letting them off the hook, sure Clement died of natural causes after the thug cops considered him drunk instead of having a diabetic seizure. The cops did not smell alcohol, they removed his bracelet then beat the crap out of him just for the hell of. There are so many corrupt cops that is absolutely ridiculous. We don't need to fear the criminals except the ones that wear badges and think that they are a license to break the law. Every cop on every police force in America thinks they are above the law and why not the courts keep giving them a free pass. If you ever go into a courtroom and it is your word against a cop's word don't believe that happy horse shit that absence of proof the cops word is no better than yours, BS! The court will take the word of the cop every time, because a cop wouldn't lie, would they? Not unless the mouth was moving!

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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