United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Rights — excessive force
Where a plaintiff’s prevailing on an excessive force claim would be inconsistent with his criminal conviction, summary judgment was properly granted to the defendants.
“The problem is that Helman’s version of the facts would necessarily imply the invalidity of his state court conviction for resisting law enforcement. It would have been objectively unreasonable for officers to open fire on a person who was not reaching for a weapon or otherwise acting in a threatening manner, and therefore the officers would have been employing excessive force if they did so. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396–97 (1989) (the Fourth Amendment reasonableness inquiry is an objective one, determined in light of the facts and circumstances confronting the officers, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation); Common v. City of Chicago, 661 F.3d 940, 943 (7th Cir. 2011). If Helman attempted to access the gun only after the officers began firing at him, then Helman would have been attempting to draw a deadly weapon in response to excessive force. Accordingly, under Heck, Helman may not pursue a § 1983 claim premised upon that factual scenario.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Lee, J., Rovner, J.