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Civil Rights – Qualified immunity – disorderly conduct

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 8, 2011//

Civil Rights – Qualified immunity – disorderly conduct

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 8, 2011//

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Civil Rights
Qualified immunity; disorderly conduct

Where officers were aware of a history of harassment by the plaintiff of an ex-girlfriend, they were entitled to qualified immunity on the plaintiff’s claim that they arrested him without probable cause after a disturbance in a park.

“But here there was more. Gabinski, at least, was aware that there was a long history of domestic disputes between Reher and Outlaw. While the last such dispute had occurred several years before, the incidents Gabinski was aware of were fairly serious, and included distributing nude pictures of Outlaw in the apartment complex, throwing a rock through Outlaw’s window, and violating orders of protection. At the scene, Outlaw accused Reher of harassing her and her daughter, and at least one neighbor told the police that she had seen Reher in the park before.”

“We find that, in light of Outlaw’s accusations at the scene, it would have been reasonable for an officer with Gabinski’s knowledge of Reher and Outlaw’s turbulent history to conclude that Reher was harassing Outlaw and Ashley. Gabinski therefore had probable cause to arrest Reher for disorderly conduct. Even assuming otherwise, Gabinski would be entitled to qualified immunity. Bevier v. Hucal, 806 F.2d 123, 126 (7th Cir. 1986) (‘Police officers are allowed to make [reasonable mistakes.]’).”

Affirmed.

10-2180 Reher v. Vivo

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Conlon, J., Williams, J.

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