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

got their manFacebookA 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.

Via 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 rights.

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

h/t sloopyinca

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  • Paul.||

    In April 2011, police were trying to arrest Spradlin’s son, Junior

    She lives in a mobile home, and her son's name is Junior... his Christian on-the-birth-certificate name?

    That's too awesome. I hope this woman wins $50 million. Californeeya's the place she oughtta be!

  • ||

    As a matter of fact, his father was also named Junior, so he's actually Junior, Jr.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You mean his brother.

  • ||

    No, no, no. He's his own grandpa, not his own father.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Ohh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. 'I'm My Own Grandfather'! Let's just steal the damn dish and get out of here! Screw history!"

  • ||

    FoE, what was it like lying in that hole for a thousand years?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Look Fist, if history doesn't care that our degenerate friend Episiarch is his own grandfather, then who are we to judge?

  • Pathogen||

    With his superior, yet.. inferior brain, and lack of delta brain waves...

  • ||

    I did do the nasty in the pasty!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Hey, what smells like blue?

  • CE||

    Birth certificate? We jes' wraht his name and birthday in this here Bible.

  • Restoras||

    You know who else were only "following orders"?

  • Paul.||

    My boss?

  • Erik Jay||

    This is an important point. Watch for my upcoming article on America's renunciation of The Nuremberg Principles with which we tried to prove our moral superiority over the Germans after the show trials (which my father attended). We put Germans to death because they followed orders rather than, as the Principles advised, making an individual moral decision to refuse. That used to be a measure of our TRUE, practical superiority over tyrannies like Germany's and the USSR's -- that we acknowledged the right of the individual, in this case the grunt soldier, to act as an independent moral agent.

    Now, of course, with our country an authoritarian, conformist police state, it's ALL about "following orders." This new "paradigm" flouts our 230+ year-old principles and solidifies our retreat from individual responsibility, limited government, and basic common sense. It's a hugely important thing, and therefore not likely to break into the social media or nightly non-news. Another nail being pounded in the coffin...

  • Pathogen||

    Going against the prevailing political doctrine, and taking a moral stand against unethical, and probably illegal state sanctioned behavior has been unfashionable ever since, and can even be construed as treasonous, nowadays... Ask Snowden...

  • CE||

    Not to mention the war crime of aggressive war.

  • Paul.||

    I believe that "following orders" is the final resting place of any empire.

    the police are now FIRMLY in this territory, and it's codified into common law.

    He shot an unarmed man in the back!

    Yes, but he followed procedure... you see, if you read here, you'll see that...

    Procedure is moral cover.

    We're done.

  • SIV||

    So where will we find the article?

  • Pathogen||

    That dude that handed me food at the Mc.Donald's drive-thru today?

  • sloopyinca||

    Then he did better than the jackleg motherfucker I got at Popeyes today. Three-piece, motherfucker. I wanted a three-piece, not a two-piece.

  • Pathogen||

    You were the victim of a failed "redistributionist" policy, and were denied justice™.... I blame Booosh!

  • CE||

    Darth's Storm Troopers?

  • Paul.||

    An anti-nut punch in the War On Drugs:

    An Oregon police officer cited a driver and said he could leave, but the officer had blocked him in. The officer then noted a discrepancy that led to a search and a drug charge. A court said the search was over when he told the driver he could leave.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/l.....psxml.html

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So then police are just going to never tell a stopped driver he is free to go. They will just stare at each other until the first one dies.

  • Paul.||

    If the police learn their lesson on this... yes.

    I believe in the article it kind of mentions that. That the cop held that he told the driver he was free to go, but the driver "chose not to", ignoring the fact that the cop had blocked him in.

  • CE||

    An Oregon police officer cited a driver and said he could leave, but the officer had blocked him in.

    Otherwise known as "false imprisonment".

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    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 rights.

    Seems to me these are the claims a jury might more readily empathize with.

  • CE||

    Seems to me the alleged violations of due process rights are the most germane.

  • Riesi||

    Germane, can you define? Or do you mean German?

  • Ted Levy||

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

    Because this argument worked so well at Nuremberg...

  • juris imprudent||

    I was going to say how much better that reads in German.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Was this the same kind of tear gas that the LAPD lobbed into Chris Dorner's cabin? The kind that cops refer to as "burner" because it is well-known to start fires?

  • Paul.||

    Probably the stuff they claimed they never used at Waco.

  • Pathogen||

    Somewhat more discreet than a Molotov cocktail... or, flamethrower, and absolutely guarantees that there will only be one side of that story... I assume that that's what it says on the ads and promo materials from the manufacturer, along with testimonials from ATF/FBI/DEA agents, and local LEO's, about all the embarrassing revelations and paperwork it saves them... increasing storm trooper officer effectiveness, and productivity... and safety.

  • Jayburd||

    The special sooper dooper teargas. They admitted that they used it anyway. They must have depleted their supply of indoor gas which means that they're underfunded. And dude wasn't there.

  • Spoonman.||

    These rocket surgeons spent seven hours lobbing teargas into an empty trailer?

    Also, this story really makes one think back to Waco: The Rules of Engagement.

  • JidaKida||

    Stupid punk cops, I say off with their heads!

    www.Privacy-Road.tk

  • Riesi||

    Hear hear

  • John C. Randolph||

    "Held responsible" as in, doing time and paying restitution, or "taking full responsibility" the way that Janet Reno kept her job after the Waco massacre?

    -jcr

  • ||

    If the county attorney claims that arson was just following orders, the plaintiff should amend the lawsuit to sue the entire police department, since the RICO act would then appear to apply.

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