Police behaved reasonably when they arrested protestors during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul and thus the officers, and the city, are entitled to qualified immunity against civil rights claims, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.
The case derives from the arrest of approximately 160 people at a park at Shepherd Road and Ontario Street on the first day of the convention. All charges eventually were dismissed.
Thirty-two people filed suit under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 against six police officers and the cty of St. Paul, alleging violations of their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The parties stipulated to the dismissal of claims against one officer, and Judge Paul Magnuson granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims. The 8th Circuit affirmed.
The appellate court said that warrantless arrests and the use of force were reasonable under the circumstances, and there was no evidence that the protestors were arrested in retaliation for exercising their First Amendment rights. It also said the Senior Commander Joseph Neuberger did not take any action sufficient to impose liability on the city.
The case is Bemini et al. v. City of St. Paul, et al.