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Fourth Amendment Violation – Qualified Immunity

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Daudi M. Mwangangi v. Taylor Nielsen

Case No.: 21-1576, 21-1577 & 21-1971

Officials: EASTERBROOK, SCUDDER, and KIRSCH, Circuit Judges

Focus: Fourth Amendment Violation – Qualified Immunity

On October 7, 2017 Mwangangi provided roadside assistance from a service request from a driver in need of a jumpstart in Lebanon, Indiana. Mwangangi set out to help in his used Crown Victoria. On the way there he activated clear strobe lights on the outside of his car, and a driver that Mwangangi passed on the highway twice called 911 to report him as a police impersonator. Shortly after Mwangangi got the stranded Toyota Camry back up and running and on its way, he found himself at a Speedway gas pump surrounded by seven police officers from several surrounding jurisdictions. The encounter escalated from there. Mwangangi was ordered from his car, handcuffed, patted down twice, and eventually arrested for police impersonation—charges that were not dropped until two years later, when everyone realized he had been telling the truth all along about his roadside assistance job. Litigation followed. The district court entered summary judgment for Mwangangi on many of his Fourth Amendment-based claims—and, in doing so, denied the police officers involved the protection of qualified immunity—but found for the City of Lebanon and individual officers as to others. This court affirmed some of the district court’s rulings and reverse others.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part

Decided 9/15/22

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