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Date: 10-27-2021

Case Style:

Ernest Kirk, et al v. Calhoun County, MI, et al

Case Number: 19-2456

Judge: David McKeague

Court: UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

Plaintiff's Attorney: Calhoun County Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:


Cincinnati, Ohio - Criminal defense Lawyer Directory


Description:

Cincinnati, Ohio- Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant with a assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting and obstructing a police officer charge.



On April 9, 2015, Calhoun County Sheriff’s deputies Greg Gammons and Brandy
Edmonds were dispatched to a home in Pennfield Township to investigate a report of a robbery of
an open garage. After arresting the suspect, the deputies then began canvassing houses. Shortly
after midnight, they arrived at Ernest and Dr. Claudia Kirks’s house. When Ernest looked out his
window, he saw an unidentified individual with a flashlight and a gun outside his home. Ernest
then grabbed his cell phone and gun. He opened the side door to his house and was “immediately
confronted with a gun and a flashlight and someone yelling at [him].” Ernest then shouted: “This
is private property. Who are you?”
The person outside was Deputy Edmonds. Deputy Edmonds and Ernest have very different
recollections of what transpired next. Ernest claims that he kept his gun at his side and pointed
towards the ground during their entire encounter. Deputy Edmonds, on the other hand, claims that
Ernest had his gun drawn and pointed at her during the encounter. Ernest couldn’t tell the person
was an officer, so he repeatedly asked her to identify herself. Ernest claims that Deputy Edmonds
never identified herself, but admits that at some point she announced: “Calhoun County.” Ernest
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3
also claims that Deputy Edmonds kept yelling “[d]rop the gun. Come out of the house. Get on the
ground.”
Ernest then went back inside and called 9-1-1. The operator told Ernest that the people
outside his house were officers and that he should come out of the house with his hands up. Ernest
exited his house through the garage door without his gun and was met by several armed deputies,
who Ernest claims had their guns pointed at him. Ernest closed the garage door and went back
inside. Deputy Gammons, however, kept the garage door from closing.
Deputy Gammons then spoke with Ernest on the phone and advised him that they were
investigating a series of robberies and believed someone had stolen property from his residence.
Ernest agreed to come outside. Ernest looked around his garage and told the officers that he did
not believe anything was missing.
Deputy Edmonds contacted Deputy Gammons and told him she wanted Ernest arrested for
assaulting a police officer. While Ernest was being arrested, Claudia exited the house and entered
the garage. The officers said they would search the house, and Ernest told them he did not consent.
He also told Claudia not to consent. The deputies claim that Ernest and Claudia were speaking in
German, and Claudia testified that it was possible she and Ernest were speaking in German because
they speak German together most of the time. Claudia claims that Deputy Brandon Sparks then
grabbed her by the arm, pointed his gun at her lower abdomen,
1
threatened to shoot her dogs, and
said: “you are going to let me into the house to search the house, and if you are not going to do
that, you are going to be in more trouble than he is.” Deputy Sparks denies pointing his gun at
1 Claudia testified said that Sparks never touched her, but simply pointed the gun at her “lower abdomen” from
less than “three or four feet” away. But Ernest says in his deposition that Deputy Sparks grabbed Claudia by the
forearm.
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Claudia. Ernest told Claudia to go inside and retrieve his gun. Deputy Sparks accompanied her
and secured Ernest’s gun.
The Kirk’s next-door neighbors, Tracey Allen and Catherine Lopez, witnessed part of the
incident between Deputy Edmonds and Ernest. Their bedroom window was located approximately
20 feet from the confrontation. Allen heard two voices shouting: “put your gun down; no, you put
your gun down.” Allen testified that Ernest kept his gun pointed at the ground the entire time. She
also did not hear Deputy Edmonds identify herself as a law enforcement officer. Lopez, who went
outside, claims that an officer pointed a gun at her and told her to go back inside.
Prosecutors charged Ernest with assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting and
obstructing a police officer.
After Ernest’s arraignment, Deputy Christopher Young interviewed Allen and Lopez.
Allen and Lopez stated that Ernest did not point his gun at anyone and that the deputies never
identified themselves as law enforcement officers. Neither of these statements, however, were
included in Deputy Young’s report. Allen testified that while Deputy Young was interviewing
them, he told Allen that the license plates on her car were expired and that he “would hate for [her]
to be pulled over,” which Allen took as a threat.
When Allen saw Deputy Young’s report from their interview, she found it misleading
because it omitted key statements. Coincidentally, Allen spoke with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s
wife at a softball game and told her about the misleading report. The next day, Deputy Aaron
Wiersma called Allen and asked if she would fill out a Citizen’s Complaint form because she
disputed the contents of the report that Deputy Young wrote. Allen and Lopez filled out the
complaint and wrote that Deputy Young’s report did not reflect what they said, that Deputy Young
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5
made coercive threats to them, and that an unknown officer pointed their gun at Lopez that night.
Deputy Wiersma collected the complaint and new statements and wrote a new report.
Ernest’s criminal case was dismissed without prejudice because the victim, Deputy
Edmonds, failed to appear at the preliminary hearing. Edmonds testified that she did not appear
at the hearing because she was never served with a subpoena. Allen, however, says that she and
Lopez were at the courthouse to testify at the hearing and saw Deputy Edmonds there. Allen
believes that Deputy Edmonds recognized her because they made eye contact and Deputy
Edmonds “glared” at her.
Ernest and Claudia sued Calhoun County, Sheriff Saxton, Deputy Edmonds, Deputy
Gammons, Deputy Sparks, Deputy Young, and Deputy Brent Lincoln. Ernest alleged a false arrest
claim against Deputy Edmonds and a malicious prosecution claim against Deputies Edmonds and
Young. Both Ernest and Claudia alleged claims of excessive force and unreasonable search against
Deputy Sparks. Lastly, Ernest brought a Monell claim against Calhoun County for condoning and
approving of unconstitutional conduct by its officers.
Calhoun County moved for summary judgment on the Monell claim against it and the
individual defendants moved for summary judgment on the remaining claims. The district court
granted Calhoun County’s motion and granted in part and denied in part the individual defendants’
motion. The district court found that there were genuine issues of material fact remaining for the
false arrest and malicious prosecution claims against Deputy Edmonds and the excessive force
claim against Deputy Sparks. The court granted summary judgment for the malicious prosecution
claim against Deputy Young and the unreasonable search claim against Deputy Sparks.
Deputy Edmonds and Deputy Sparks appeal the denial of summary judgment on the false
arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force claims. Ernest and Claudia appeal the grant of
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6
summary judgment to Calhoun County on their Monell claim and Deputy Young on the malicious
prosecution claim.
II.
A.
We review a district court’s denial of summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds
de novo. Hopper v. Phil Plummer, 887 F.3d 744, 751 (6th Cir. 2018). Qualified immunity shields
federal and state officials from money damages unless a plaintiff can “offer sufficient evidence to
create a ‘genuine issue of fact’” regarding whether “(1) the defendant violated a constitutional
right and (2) that right was clearly established.” Bunkley v. City of Detroit, 902 F.3d 552, 559 (6th
Cir. 2018) (first quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986)). “[I]f the
district court determines that the plaintiff’s evidence,” viewed in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, “would reasonably support a jury’s finding that the defendant violated a clearly
established right, the court must deny summary judgment.” DiLuzio v. Village of Yorkville, 796
F.3d 604, 609 (6th Cir. 2015).
Qualified immunity involves a “two-tiered inquiry.” Jones v. Clark County, 959 F.3d 748,
766 (6th Cir. 2020) (quoting Martin v. City of Broadview Heights, 712 F.3d 951, 957 (6th Cir.
2013)). First, we ask whether, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the
officer’s conduct violated a constitutional right. Id. Then we ask whether that constitutional right
is clearly established. Novak v. City of Parma, 932 F.3d 421, 426 (6th Cir. 2019). The Supreme
Court does not “require a case directly on point, but existing precedent must have placed the
statutory or constitutional question beyond debate” in the particular circumstances before the
officer. Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 741 (2011).
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1. False Arrest Claim Against Deputy Edmonds
Ernest alleges that he was arrested without probable cause when Deputy Edmonds directed
Deputy Gammons to arrest him for assaulting a police officer, in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.81d(1).
2
First, we must determine whether Ernest has demonstrated a “genuine factual dispute
regarding [Deputy Edmonds’s] violation of [his] clearly established right to be free from false
arrest under these circumstances.” Ouza v. City of Dearborn Heights, 969 F.3d 265, 284 (6th Cir.
2020). To prevail on a claim of false arrest, a plaintiff must show that “the officers lacked probable
cause to arrest him or her.” Hartman v. Thompson, 931 F.3d 471, 483 (6th Cir. 2019). An officer
has probable cause to arrest if, based on the information known to her, a reasonable officer would
believe the arrestee had committed a crime. See Courtright v. City of Battle Creek, 839 F.3d 513,
521 (6th Cir. 2016). Typically, the existence of probable cause is a jury question, “unless there is
only one reasonable determination possible.” Osberry v. Slusher, 750 F. App’x 385, 392 (6th Cir.
2018) (quoting Parsons v. City of Pontiac, 533 F.3d 492, 501 (6th Cir. 2008)).
Here, taking all factual inferences in favor of Ernest and viewing the information possessed
by Deputy Edmonds at the time of the arrest, a reasonable jury could find that Deputy Edmonds
lacked probable cause to arrest Ernest for assaulting a police officer under Michigan law. There
is a genuine factual dispute about whether Ernest pointed his gun at Deputy Edmonds or kept it
pointed at the ground. And Deputy Edmonds herself testified that she would not have arrested
Ernest if he kept his gun pointed at the ground.
2 Section 750.81(d) provides: “an individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or
endangers a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties is guilty of
a felony.”
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There is also a genuine factual dispute about whether Ernest knew Deputy Edmonds was a
police officer. Deputy Edmonds argues that it was reasonable for her to believe that Ernest knew
she was a police officer because she identified herself as “Calhoun County,” and because Ernest
saw her weapon, it was reasonable for her to believe that he also saw her police uniform. But a
reasonable jury could find that it was objectively unreasonable for Deputy Edmonds to believe
Ernest knew she was a police officer. A jury could decide that yelling “Calhoun County” didn’t
identify Edmonds and that, given it was dark and Ernest had a flashlight in his eyes, he didn’t see
her uniform. The evidence, viewed in Ernest’s favor, is not susceptible to only one reasonable
determination—that Deputy Edmonds had probable cause to arrest Ernest. See City of Pontiac,
533 F.3d at 503.
If true, Deputy Edmonds’s conduct also violated clearly established law. In April 2015, it
was clearly established in our Circuit that “absent probable cause to believe that an offense had
been committed, was being committed, or was about to be committed, officers may not arrest an
individual.” Logsdon v. Hains, 492 F.3d 334, 343 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting Gardenhire v. Schubert,
205 F.3d 303, 313 (6th Cir. 2000)); accord Barton v. Martin, 949 F.3d 938, 951 (6th Cir. 2020)
(“It is well settled that the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments require probable cause to justify
arresting an individual.”). And in Logsdon, we held that this standard alone, absent any “sea
change in this body of law since [the plaintiff’s] arrest,” was sufficient to overcome the defendant’s
qualified immunity defense. 492 F.3d at 343. There has been no sea change in this body of law
since Ernest’s arrest in April 2015. As a result, Deputy Edmonds is not entitled to qualified
immunity on the false arrest claim.
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2. Malicious Prosecution Claim Against Deputy Edmonds
Ernest argues that Deputy Edmonds “participated in or influenced the decision to prosecute
him by relaying a false narrative, including through post-arrest reports that alleged Kirk pointed
his gun at her and that he knew that she was a[] [law enforcement] officer.”
There are four elements to a malicious prosecution claim, but only one is in dispute here:
whether the state lacked probable cause for the prosecution. See Jones, 959 F.3d at 756 (quoting
Sykes v. Anderson, 625 F.3d 294, 308-09 (6th Cir. 2010)). We have already held that there is a
genuine issue of material fact as to whether Deputy Edmonds violated Ernest’s constitutional right
to be free from false arrest by arresting him without probable cause. And if there was no probable
cause to arrest Ernest for assaulting a police officer, then there was no probable cause to prosecute
him for it either.
The right to be free from malicious prosecution has been clearly established in our Circuit
for decades. See Spurlock v. Satterfield, 167 F.3d 995, 1006 (6th Cir. 1999) (finding that because
“the requirement of probable cause is one of the cornerstones of Fourth Amendment protection,”
a reasonable police officer would know that “fabricating probable cause . . . would violate a
suspect’s clearly established Fourth Amendment right”). However, “[a] police officer violates a
suspect’s clearly established right to freedom from malicious prosecution under the Fourth
Amendment ‘only when his deliberate or reckless falsehoods result in arrest and prosecution
without probable cause.’” Johnson v. Moseley, 790 F.3d 649, 655 (6th Cir. 2015) (quoting
Newman v. Township of Hamburg, 773 F.3d 769, 772 (6th Cir. 2014)).
A reasonable jury could find that Deputy Edmonds’s post-arrest incident reports contained
knowing or reckless falsehoods. Drawing all inferences in favor of Ernest, Deputy Edmonds knew
that Ernest never pointed his gun at her and that Ernest did not know she was a police officer. And
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these falsified statements facilitated the continued prosecution of Ernest without probable cause.
If a jury finds that Deputy Edmonds deliberately or recklessly made false statements in her report,
she violated Ernest’s clearly established right to be free from malicious prosecution.
3. Excessive Force Claim Against Deputy Sparks
Next, Claudia claims that Deputy Sparks used excessive force by pointing his gun at her.
A claim of excessive force “is evaluated under the objective standard of ‘whether the officers’
actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them,
without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.’” Simmonds v. Genesee County, 682 F.3d
438, 444 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 397 (1989)). While “the
ultimate question is ‘whether the totality of the circumstances justifies a particular sort of seizure,’”
Ciminillo v. Streicher, 434 F.3d 461, 467 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting St. John v. Hickey, 411 F.3d
762, 771 (6th Cir. 2005)), relevant factors to consider include “the severity of the crime at issue,
whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether
[the suspect] is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” Graham, 490 U.S.
at 396.
The Graham factors cut both ways. On the one hand, Claudia was never suspected of a
crime, was unarmed and did not pose an immediate threat to officer safety, and did not attempt to
evade arrest. On the other hand, Claudia’s husband was suspected of assaulting a police officer
with a firearm—a serious crime. And the officers could have reasonably believed that Claudia
possessed the gun Ernest used since the officers had not yet recovered the weapon. Lastly, while
Claudia followed the officers’ orders, Ernest was not entirely cooperative with them that night.
But given that the facts surrounding the encounter between Deputy Sparks and Claudia are
highly contested, whether Deputy Sparks violated Claudia’s clearly established right to be free
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from excessive force must be determined by a jury. The parties dispute whether Deputy Sparks
grabbed Claudia’s arm, whether Deputy Sparks deliberately pointed his gun at Claudia or whether
he merely turned towards Claudia with his gun already drawn, how long Deputy Sparks pointed
his gun at Claudia, what exactly Deputy Sparks said to Claudia when he brandished his firearm,
and whether Deputy Sparks kept his gun drawn while he accompanied Claudia into the house. In
addition to these factual disputes, Deputy Sparks himself testified, after denying that he pointed
his gun at Claudia, that “in that situation, no, I would not have had any reason to point a weapon
at her.”
We need not further delineate the parameters of when it is permissible for an officer to
brandish a firearm at an unarmed citizen because of the several factual disputes that remain.
Deputy Sparks denies ever drawing his gun and apparently did not even believe he had a reason to
point the gun in the first place. In sum, the dispute of material facts bars resolution of the excessive
force claim against Deputy Sparks on qualified immunity grounds.
B.
1. Malicious Prosecution Claim Against Deputy Young
Ernest claims that Deputy Young contributed to his continued unlawful prosecution by
misrepresenting Allen’s and Lopez’s statements and thereby concealing the exculpatory evidence
that Ernest never pointed his weapon at Deputy Edmonds and that she never identified herself as
a law enforcement officer.
The disputed element here is whether Deputy Young “made, influenced, or participated in”
the decision to prosecute Ernest.
3
The basis of Ernest’s claim is that Deputy Young unlawfully
3 A claim for malicious prosecution “is not limited to the institution of proceedings; it can also support a claim
for ‘continued detention without probable cause.’” Mills v. Barnard, 869 F.3d 473, 480 (6th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Sanders v. Jones, 845 F.3d 721, 728 n.4 (6th Cir. 2017), as amended on denial of reh’g (Mar. 20, 2017), cert.
granted, judgment vacated on other grounds, 138 S. Ct. 640 (2018)).
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prolonged Ernest’s prosecution by fabricating and withholding evidence (Allen’s and Lopez’s
statements), “the absence of . . . which would have dissolved probable cause for [his] continued
detention.” Gregory v. City of Louisville, 444 F.3d 725, 747 (6th Cir. 2006).
The district court found that Deputy Young could not be held liable for the continued
prosecution of Ernest because Ernest failed to “establish[] a genuine issue of material fact that had
[Deputy] Young included the statements in his report[,] the prosecutor would have decided to drop
the charges against Ernest.” We agree. The record makes clear that the charges were dismissed
because Deputy Edmonds failed to appear at the hearing. The prosecution had Allen’s and Lopez’s
supplemental statements two weeks prior to the hearing and yet continued with the charges.
Ernest disagrees, arguing that the charges against him were dismissed because of Allen’s
and Lopez’s supplemental statements, because when Deputy Edmonds learned that Allen and
Lopez were present and planned to testify against her, she left the building in fear that they would
“expose the absence of probable cause.” But Ernest misses the point. The prosecution already
had the supplemental statements from Allen and Lopez in their possession and declined to dismiss
the charges against Ernest. Even if Deputy Edmonds left the courthouse because she feared that
Allen and Lopez would refute her story, the prosecution did not drop the charges because of
Allen’s and Lopez’s supplemental statements, but because Deputy Edmonds failed to appear.
2. Monell Claim Against Calhoun County
Ernest alleges that Calhoun County has a custom of not investigating allegations of
unconstitutional behavior by its officers.
A plaintiff can bring a § 1983 claim against a municipality when “the [municipal] action
that is alleged to be unconstitutional implements or executes a policy statement, ordinance,
regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by that body’s officers.” Monell v.
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13
Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). Thus, municipalities cannot be held liable “under
§ 1983 on a respondeat superior theory—in other words, ‘solely because it employs a tortfeasor.’”
D’Ambrosio v. Marino, 747 F.3d 378, 388-89 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting Monell, 436 U.S. at 691).
Instead, a plaintiff must “demonstrate that, through its deliberate conduct, the municipality was
the ‘moving force’ behind the injury alleged” and that there is “a direct causal link between the
municipal action and the deprivation of federal rights.” Alman v. Reed, 703 F.3d 887, 903 (6th
Cir. 2013) (quoting Bryan Cnty. Bd. of Comm’rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997)).
A plaintiff can prove that a municipality had such a policy or custom by showing that an
official with final decision-making authority ratified illegal actions. Jackson v. City of Cleveland,
925 F.3d 793, 828 (6th Cir. 2019). Here, Ernest argues that Sheriff Saxton “ratified” what Ernest
alleges was an inadequate investigation into the Allen/Lopez citizen complaint. This unwritten
policy or custom of not investigating citizen complaints, Ernest argues, was the “moving force”
behind the violation of Ernest’s “constitutional right not to be maliciously prosecuted.”
Ernest relies almost exclusively on our decades-old Monell jurisprudence for the
proposition that a sheriff’s failure to investigate one instance of allegedly unconstitutional conduct
of its deputies can be considered a “ratification” of their conduct, thereby subjecting the
municipality to Monell liability under § 1983. See Leach v. Shelby Cnty. Sheriff, 891 F.2d 1241,
1248 (6th Cir. 1989);
4 Marchese v. Lucas, 758 F.2d 181, 188-89 (6th Cir. 1985). But, as we
recently explained in Pineda v. Hamilton County, we have since restricted the scope of this
ratification theory. 977 F.3d 483, 495 (6th Cir. 2020).
4 Ernest misrepresents the holding in Leach. There, the Court found that the municipality had a policy of
deliberate indifference to prisoners’ medical needs based on the fact that there were fourteen separate, prior
instances where the prison failed to investigate prisoner mistreatment. 891 F.2d at 1246-48.
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To prove a “custom-of-tolerance” theory of liability, a plaintiff must show that “there was
a pattern of inadequately investigating similar claims.” Burgess v. Fischer, 735 F.3d 462, 478 (6th
Cir. 2013). Without such evidence, “there is no demonstration of causation to show that the
allegedly inadequate investigation caused the constitutional violation in question.” David v. City
of Bellevue, 706 F. App’x 847, 853 (6th Cir. 2017).
Importantly, “an entity’s failure to investigate the plaintiff’s specific claim will, by
definition, come after the employee’s action that caused the injury about which the plaintiff
complains.” Pineda, 977 F.3d at 495. And if there was no custom of tolerating inadequate
investigations into illegal conduct, the wrongdoer could not have been motivated by a municipal
policy in committing the constitutional violation. “A series of investigative failures before the
plaintiff’s injury, by contrast, might at least suggest that the local entity’s custom led to the
employee’s harmful action in the plaintiff’s own case.” Id.
Ernest has not provided any evidence of prior inadequate investigations at Calhoun County
that could establish the existence of a custom of tolerating unconstitutional conduct by its deputies.
In addition to the complaint against Deputy Young for misrepresenting Allen’s and Lopez’s
statements, Ernest points to two other complaints that it alleges Calhoun County failed to fully
investigate: (1) Deputy Young’s threatening comment to Allen about her expired license plate and
(2) the unknown officer who pointed their weapon at Lopez during the April 9 encounter between
Ernest and Deputy Edmonds. But these complaints are not examples of earlier inadequate
investigations that could have prompted Deputy Young to act with impunity in concealing Allen’s
and Lopez’s statements. They were additional complaints alleged in the same document as the
misrepresentation complaint.
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Ernest also fails to establish causation. Deputy Young’s allegedly threatening behavior
had no relation to the constitutional violation (here, malicious prosecution). In other words,
Deputy Young’s allegedly threatening comment towards Allen about her license plate and the
unknown officer who allegedly pointed a gun at Lopez could not possibly serve as the “moving
force” behind Ernest’s prosecution. See Alman, 703 F.3d at 903.
Ernest next arguesthat he can make out a Monell claim based on the fact that Sheriff Saxton
“ratified” Deputy Young’s conduct by testifying that his handling of the Allen/Lopez complaint
was “appropriate,” citing to this Court’s decision in Wright v. City of Euclid, 962 F.3d 852 (6th
Cir. 2020). In Wright, a plaintiff who was severely beaten by two police officers brought a Monell
claim against a city, alleging that the police department ratified the use of excessive force by its
officers. Id. at 882. The plaintiff introduced evidence of inadequate training documents and
testimony of a supervisor that “he had never heard of a use of force incident by a Euclid officer
that seemed inappropriate to him.” Id. at 882. The Court held a “reasonable jury could find that
the City’s custom” of permitting the use of force is “so settled so as to have the force of law” that
it was the moving force behind the constitutional violation. Id. at 881.
But there is no such evidence here. Sheriff Saxton testified that at the time Allen and Lopez
submitted their citizen complaint, there was an unwritten policy of “investigat[ing] any and all
citizen complaints,” and that if a citizen complains about threatening behavior from a deputy, that
claim should be investigated. This is a far cry from the testimony of the officer in Wright. And
Calhoun County did investigate the complaint that Deputy Young misrepresented Allen’s and
Lopez’s statements. Sheriff Saxton sent Deputy Wiersma to re-interview Allen and Lopez and
allowed them to write their own corrected statements.
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Because Ernest failed to show a pattern of inadequate investigations that were tolerated by
the Sheriff, Ernest cannot demonstrate that Deputy Young was motivated by a custom of tolerance
to misrepresent Allen’s and Young’s statements in an effort to conceal evidence that would reveal
that there was no probable cause to continue prosecuting Ernest. Accordingly, his Monell claim
fails.

Outcome: For the foregoing reasons we AFFIRM the denial of qualified immunity to Deputy
Edmonds on the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims and to Deputy Sparks on the excessive force claim. We also AFFIRM the denial of summary judgment for the malicious prosecution claim against Deputy Young and the Monell claim against Calhoun County.

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