Plaintiff appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to defendant based on qualified immunity. Defendant, a police officer, stopped plaintiff after he observed him walking on the wrong side of a rural road. Plaintiff refused to identify himself to defendant. After arguing for a few minutes, defendant arrested plaintiff. Plaintiff was eventually released when officers identified him by his credit card. Plaintiff sued, alleging that he was arrested in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right to argue with police.
Where defendant undisputedly had probable cause to arrest plaintiff, defendant’s subjective intent was not relevant to his entitlement to qualified immunity.
Grasz, J., dissenting: “The majority concludes that Murphy failed to state a claim because Officer Schmitt had probable cause to arrest Murphy for walking on the wrong side of the road. I respectfully dissent. Because Murphy plausibly asserted that the Sunrise Beach Police Department does not regularly enforce this law, his First Amendment retaliation claim survives under the exception adopted by the Supreme Court in Nieves v. Bartlett, 139 S. Ct. 1715 (2019).”
Judgment is affirmed.
Murphy v. Schmitt (MLW No. 80486/Case No. 22-1726 – 9 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Harpool, J.