The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the police officers who shot and killed Jamarion Robinson are not qualified for immunity.
In the 28-page ruling, the Court of Appeals said the district court erred last year in granting immunity for Fulton County Detective Daniel Doyle and U.S. Marshal Eric Heinze, and the decision has been reversed.
What Is Qualified Immunity?
Qualified immunity is a defense that shields officials from being sued. It only applies to suits against government officials as individuals and frequently appears in cases involving police officers.
What Happened To Jamarion Robinson?
Jamarion Robinson was a 26-year-old former college football player.
His mother, Monteria Robinson, said that her son was schizophrenic and suffering from other mental health issues.
On August 5, 2016, the U.S. Marshals’ Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force tracked Jamarion down at his girlfriend’s house in Clayton County where they attempted to arrest him for arson and aggravated assault on a police officer.
Officers knocked on the door and when it went unanswered they forced their way in.
When the task force encountered Jamarion Robinson, he had a gun and refused to put it down.
That’s when the officers fired dozens of rounds at Jamarion striking him 76 times.
The task force team then detonated a flashbang grenade near his body.
When Jamarion did not respond, they placed him in handcuffs before calling for medical support.
Part of the incident was recorded by a bystander.
Justice For Jamarion Robinson
Jamarion’s mother, Monteria Robinson, filed a lawsuit accusing the officers of violating her son’s Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force while attempting to arrest her son.
She also believes officers shot her son after he was incapacitated.
The district court granted summary judgment to Officers Heinze, Doyle, and Clayton County Police Officer Kristopher L. Hutchens.
Monteria filed an appeal arguing that the summary judgment should not have been granted because there are genuine disputes of material facts relevant to whether the three officers used excessive force.
In a 2021 interview with The NY Times, Monteria said officers continued to shoot Jamarion after using the flashbang, that had burned him.
She also said that after Jamarion was riddled with bullets, his body was dragged down a flight of stairs – in what she is describing as evidence tampering.
“Someone stood over my son and shot down into his body,” Ms. Robinson said. “They all say that my son fell to the ground, so why did they shoot another 80 or more volleys at my son?”
The Charges Against Jamarion’s Killers
Five years after Jamarion Robinson’s killing, Fulton County Detective Daniel Doyle and U.S. Marshal Eric Heinze were indicted by a grand jury on felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, making false statements, and violation of oath in October 2021.
The court of appeals ruled there was no evidence that Clayton County Officer Kristopher Hutchens fired his weapon, so the case against him should be dismissed.
Heinze and Hutchens remain charged with murder. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Jamarion’s mother credits Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for getting her son’s case before a grand jury.
Justice for Jamarion Robinson.