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Eighth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Arkansas Jail Prisoner’s Excessive Force Claim

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's dismissal of an Arkansas prisoner's excessive force claims.

On May 22, 2007, prisoners in B-Pod of the Ouachita County Detention Center created a disturbance when they were mistakenly denied yard time. When prisoners flooded the unit and broke light fixtures guards entered to restore order.

Captain David Norwood ordered prisoners to "catch the wall." Prisoner Kendrick Story did not comply. Norwood claims that he threatened to Taser Story and pushed him toward the wall with his flashlight. Story claims Norwood savagely beat him with the flashlight.

Despite no visible wounds, Story was seen by a doctor who diagnosed an elbow contusion and prescribed Advil. Back x-rays later revealed "degenerative disc disease" rather than acute trauma.

Story brought federal suit against Norwood and several other Defendants. The district court granted summary judgment to all Defendants but Norwood. At a trial on the merits, however, the court found that Norwood did not use excessive force.

The Eighth Circuit affirmed, finding "each of the district court's findings was supported by ample evidence in the record." The court also concluded that "Story failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he was the victim of an unconstitutionally excessive use of force." See: Story v. Norwood, 659 F.3d 680 (8th Cir. 2011).

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Related legal case

Story v. Norwood