Ryan Rhoades v. Independant School District No. 1 of Tulsa County, Oklahoma
Case Number: 4:21-cv-00075
Judge: Terence Kern
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa County)
Defendant's Attorney: Brian J. Kuester, Eric D. Wade, Mattew Peter Cyran
Description: Tulsa, Oklahoma civil litigation lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendants on civil rights violation under 42 U.S.C., 1983.
1. Plaintiff is a citizen of Oklahoma, residing in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
2. Defendant Independent School District No. 1 of Tulsa County (hereinafter “Tulsa
Public Schools” or “TPS”), is an independent school district with its facilities and schools located
in Tulsa County, Oklahoma. The TPS Campus Police Department is a division of TPS under its
control and supervision.
3. Defendant Charles Jackson ("Officer Jackson") is a resident of Tulsa County.
Officer Jackson was, at all pertinent times, an employee of TPS / TPS Campus Police Department,
acting under color of State law and within the scope of his employment.
4. The acts giving rise to this lawsuit occurred in Tulsa County, State of Oklahoma.
5. The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343 to secure
protection of and to redress deprivations of rights secured by the Fourth and/or Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution as enforced by 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides
for the protection of all persons in their civil rights and the redress of deprivation of rights under
color of law.
6. The jurisdiction of this Court is also invoked under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 to resolve a
controversy arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States, particularly the Fourth
and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
7. This Court has supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims asserted herein
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, since claims form part of the same case or controversy arising under
the United State Constitution and federal law.
8. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because a substantial part of the events
or omissions giving rise to Plaintiff's claims occurred in this District. 1
9. Paragraphs 1-8 are incorporated herein by reference.
10. Mr. Rhoades is a father of a student at Hoover Elementary School. He is a loving
and devoted father, who serves on Hoover’s Parent-Teacher Association.
11. August 26, 2019 was the first day of the academic year at Hoover. What should
have been a joyous day quickly turned into a nightmare for Mr. Rhoades.
12. On the morning of August 26, Mr. Rhoades was pulled over by Officer Jackson at
the corner of 22nd and S. Darlington Ave., an intersection directly adjacent to Hoover Elementary
13. When Mr. Rhoades politely asked Officer Jackson why he had been pulled over,
Officer Jackson refused to answer.
14. Without disclosing the reason Mr. Rhoades had been pulled over, Officer Jackson
began to write a citation on the surface of his squad car’s trunk.
15. It was at this point that Mr. Rhoades began to video record the incident with his
16. As shown in the video of the incident, Mr. Rhoades walked over to Officer Jackson
and again asked, “why am I being detained?”
17. Seconds later, Mr. Rhoades attempted to get the officer’s attention, stating, “Mr.
18. At this time, Officer Jackson saw that he was being recorded and became visibly
19. Without warning, justification or rational basis, Officer Jackson forcibly tackled Mr.
Rhoades to the ground. Jackson then put Mr. Rhoades in handcuffs. During the entirety of this
incident, Mr. Rhoades asked why he was being detained and why he had been stopped. Officer
Jackson continually refused to answer these basic questions.
20. After investigating the incident, Tulsa Public Schools determined that Officer
Jackson “did not follow the district’s procedures related to traffic stops.”
21. Officer Jackson’s use of force on Mr. Rhoades was objectively unreasonable,
excessive and unconstitutional as a matter of clearly established law. When a plaintiff alleges
excessive use of force, courts apply the objective reasonableness test announced in Graham v. Conner,
490 U.S. 386 (1989).
22. It is well-established that “the ‘reasonableness’ inquiry in an excessive force case is
an objective one: the question is whether the officers’ actions are ‘objectively reasonable’ in light
of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or
motivation.” Graham, 490 U.S. at 397. Under this test, the court considers the totality of the
circumstances. Plumhoff v. Rickard, 143 S.Ct. 2012, 2020 (2014).
23. “‘Graham establishes that force is least justified against nonviolent misdemeanants
who do not flee or actively resist arrest.’” Morris v. Noe, 672 F.3d 1185, 1198 (10th Cir. 2012)
(quoting Casey v. City of Fed. Heights, 509 F.3d 1278, 1285 (10th Cir. 2007)).
24. Circuit Courts, including the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, routinely find that
violent force used on nonviolent suspects who do not flee or actively resist arrest is unreasonable
and excessive. See, e.g., Morris, 672 F.3d at 1198 (“Morris posed no threat to Noe or others, nor did
he resist or flee. Thus, based on the facts assumed by the district court, Morris's right to be free
from a forceful takedown was clearly established under Graham.”) (emphasis added); Casey,
509 F.3d at 1283 (concluding that a reasonable jury could find that grabbing, tackling and “tasing”
Casey, when he was not actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight, was
“excessive and therefore unconstitutional”).
25. At worst, Mr. Rhoades was suspected of a minor traffic offense. He was a nonviolent
citizen who was harassed and assaulted by Officer Jackson.
26. Mr. Rhoades’ lack of any criminal misconduct renders the use of force tantamount
to excessive per se.
27. Additionally, Mr. Rhoades did not flee or “actively resist” arrest. Indeed, Mr.
Rhoades was not even notified that he was being placed under arrest prior to Officer Jackson’s
28. This use of force was patently unnecessary, completely disproportionate, objectively
unreasonable and clearly excessive.
29. Mr. Rhoades suffered damages as a direct result and proximate result of this
excessive use of force, including physical pain and injury, mental and emotional anguish and
CAUSES OF ACTION
EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE
(Fourth and/or Fourteenth Amendment; 42 U.S.C. § 1983)
30. Paragraphs 1-29 are incorporated herein by reference.
31. At the time of the complained of events, Mr. Rhoades, as a free person, had a clearly
established constitutional right under the Fourth and/or Fourteenth Amendment to be secure in
his person and free from objectively unreasonable seizure through excessive force to injure him
and his bodily integrity.
32. Any reasonable officer knew or should have known of these rights at the time of the
complained of conduct as they were clearly established at that time.
33. In the totality of the circumstances, at the time that the violent force as used by
Officer Jackson, Mr. Rhoades was: 1) committing no crime; 2) unarmed; 3) not fleeing; 4) not
resisting; and 5) posed no threat to himself or anyone else.
34. Plaintiff committed no crime. And there was no probable cause to arrest Plaintiff.
He never eluded any officer and certainly never resisted.
35. The use of violent force by Officer Jackson under the circumstances described
herein was excessive and objectively unreasonable.
36. Officer Jackson applied objectively unreasonable and excessive physical force on
Plaintiff Rhoades, thereby causing him serious bodily injures, as well as mental pain and anguish.
37. Mr. Rhoades suffered damages as a direct result and proximate result of this
excessive use of force, including physical pain and injury, mental and emotional anguish and
NEGLIGENT USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE
38. Paragraphs 1 to 37 are incorporated herein by reference.
39. In Oklahoma, "[a] defendant is generally said to owe a duty of care to all persons
who are foreseeably endangered by his conduct with respect to all risks that make the conduct
unreasonably dangerous." Morales v. City of Oklahoma City ex rel. Oklahoma City Police Dep't, 230 P.3d
869, 878 (Okla. 2010).
40. Because, however, the act of making an arrest necessarily involves some risk of harm
to the arrestee, "a police officer has a special dispensation from the duty of ordinary care not to
endanger others." Id. at 880.
41. In particular, "[a] police officer's duty is to use only such force in making an arrest
as a reasonably prudent police officer would use in light of the objective circumstances confronting
the officer at the time of the arrest." Id.
42. Here, Officer Jackson owed a duty to Rhoades to use only such force in securing
his cooperation as a reasonably prudent police officer would use in light of the objective
circumstances confronting the officer at the time of the incident.
43. Officer Jackson violated and breached that duty by using objectively unreasonable
and excessive force as described herein.
44. As a direct proximate result of Officer Jackson’s negligence, Rhoades suffered actual
physical injuries, mental and physical pain and suffering and other damages and losses as described
herein entitling Rhoades to recover compensatory and special damages in amounts to be
determined at trial.
45. At all pertinent times, Officer Jackson was acting within the scope of his
employment and TPS is vicariously liable for his negligent use of excessive force.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, Plaintiff prays this Court grant him the relief
sought, including but not limited to actual and compensatory damages in excess of Seventy-Five
Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00), with interest accruing from the date of filing suit, the costs of
bringing this action, a reasonable attorneys’ fee, along with such other relief as is deemed just and
Outcome: 10/11/2022 39 SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE REPORT by Adjunct Settlement Judge J. Christopher Davis advising the litigation was settled. The parties shall file their fully executed Stipulation of Dismissal by 11/10/2022., setting/resetting deadline(s)/hearing(s): (Dismissal Papers due by 11/10/22) (CDL2, Chambers) (Entered: 10/11/2022)
10/13/2022 40 MINUTE ORDER by Judge Terence Kern - In light of filing of the Notice of Confession, the Motion in Limine is moot ; finding as moot 36 Motion in Limine (Re: 38 Notice (Other), 36 MOTION in Limine with Brief in Support ) (This entry is the Official Order of the Court. No document is attached.) (lmc, Chambers) (Entered: 10/13/2022)
11/10/2022 41 Unopposed MOTION to Accelerate/Extend/Reset Hearing(s)/Deadline(s) Deadline to File Dismissal (Re: 39 Settlement Conference Report,, Setting/Resetting Deadline(s)/Hearing(s), ) by Independent School District No. 1 of Tulsa County, Oklahoma, Charles Jackson (Kuester, Brian) (Entered: 11/10/2022)
11/10/2022 42 ORDER by Judge Terence Kern ; setting/resetting deadline(s)/hearing(s): ( Dismissal Papers due by 12/12/2022); granting 41 Motion to Accelerate/Extend/Reset Hearing(s)/Deadline(s) (Re: 41 Unopposed MOTION to Accelerate/Extend/Reset Hearing(s)/Deadline(s) Deadline to File Dismissal ) (lmc, Chambers) (Entered: 11/10/2022)
11/14/2022 43 MINUTE ORDER by Judge Terence Kern : Upon notification that this matter has settled at Dkt. 39 , the pretrial conference and jury trial in this matter are STRICKEN, striking/terminating deadline(s)/Hearing(s) (This entry is the Official Order of the Court. No document is attached.) (clb, Dpty Clk) (Entered: 11/14/2022)
11/17/2022 44 Joint MOTION for Judgment (Entry of Judgment) by Independent School District No. 1 of Tulsa County, Oklahoma (With attachments) (Kuester, Brian) (Entered: 11/17/2022)
11/28/2022 45 JUDGMENT by Judge Terence Kern ; entering judgment in favor of Plaintiff against Defendant Independent School District No. 1 of Tulsa County, Oklahoma (terminates case) ; granting 44 Motion for Judgment (Re: 44 Joint MOTION for Judgment (Entry of Judgment) ) (Documents Terminated: 44 Joint MOTION for Judgment (Entry of Judgment) ) (lmc, Chambers) (Entered: 11/28/2022)
11/28/2022 ***Civil Case Terminated (see document number 45 ) (lmt, Dpty Clk) (Entered: 11/30/2022)