Skip Rogers, Administrator for the Estate of Marilyn Denise Ambrose-Boyd; Michael Andrew Boyd Plaintiffs - Appellants
Aaron King, Individually and in his Official Capacity as a Police Officer for the City of Ankeny; Gary Mikulee, Individually and in his Official Capacity as Chief of Police for the City of Ankeny, Iowa; Ankeny, Iowa Defendants - Appellees
Submitted: October 18, 2017
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Des Moines
LOKEN, MURPHY, and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges.
MURPHY, Circuit Judge.
a welfare check, Officer Aaron King shot and killed Marilyn
Denise Ambrose-Boyd. Her son, Skip Rogers, and her husband,
Michael Boyd, brought this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging that Officer King had violated her Fourth
Amendment rights and several state laws. Their complaint also
named Police Chief Gary Mikulec and the City of Ankeny as
defendants, alleging (1) § 1983 liability for inadequate
training and supervision of police officers and (2)
respondeat superior vicarious liability. The district
court granted summary judgment to the
defendants, concluding that Officer King was entitled to
qualified immunity on the § 1983 claim and that Chief
Mikulec and the City of Ankeny could not be held liable
because Officer King had acted reasonably. Rogers and Boyd
appeal, and we affirm.
around 5:00 PM on the evening of July 5, 2014, Ambrose-Boyd
sent Rogers a series of text messages. Ambrose-Boyd told
Rogers that she hoped he was happy and that she loved him and
her grandchildren. She thanked him for a firearm and said she
had "nothing more to live for" and told her son
goodbye. Rogers unsuccessfully attempted to contact
Ambrose-Boyd by text and phone. While Rogers was trying to
reach his mother, his wife dialed 911. She told the 911
operator about the text messages and that Ambrose-Boyd owned
a handgun. Officers were then dispatched to
Ambrose-Boyd's home. Rogers also called
Ambrose-Boyd's husband and asked him to check on
Ambrose-Boyd, but did not mention that he was concerned she
might be suicidal.
Lopez was the first to arrive at Ambrose-Boyd's home.
There was no response when he knocked at the front door, and
he discovered it was locked. After Officers Williams and
Christoph arrived, they went to the glass sliding door in the
back where there was again no response. Officer Williams then
decided to enter through the front door. After Officer King
succeeded in kicking the door open, the officers drew their
firearms and entered the house. Officers Christoph and King
went up the stairs shouting "Police department. Tell us
where you're at. Show us your hands."
Christoph testified that before he could see Ambrose-Boyd, he
heard her say she was okay and wanted the officers to go away
and leave her alone. He continued up the stairs, however, and
saw her come out of a door on the second floor with a handgun
in her right hand. Although Officer Christoph heard her
identify herself as Denise, he could not recall whether that
was while he was still on the stairwell or after he was able
to see her. Officers Christoph and King both testified that
she did not speak and appeared to be looking right through
them. Officer King stated that he "noticed [this] right
away" and called it "a thousand yard stare."
He described it as "when somebody is looking essentially
at you or your direction, but they don't acknowledge your
existence. It's like they're looking straight through
a hole in your body or a hole in the wall. . . . When
you're looking back at them, it's like they're in
a trance." Her appearance frightened both officers.
Christoph stated that Ambrose-Boyd had initially
"mov[ed] the gun around with her arm a little bit at her
side." She then raised the gun up to her head, but did
not hold it there for long before dropping it back down to
her side. She continued to move her arm and wave the gun
around. Although Ambrose-Boyd did not make any verbal threats
or shoot her gun, she refused to comply with their commands
to drop it. The officers did not warn her that she could be
shot if she did not put the gun down. Both testified that
Ambrose-Boyd pointed her gun near Officer Christoph's
shins. Officer Christoph later explained that "once I
realized the gun . . . had come up a little bit . . . I
realized that she may be attempting to shoot me."
Officer King fired three rounds at Ambrose-Boyd who died from
the injuries she received.
and Boyd brought this action against Officer King alleging an
excessive force claim under the Fourth Amendment and state
law claims of assault and battery. They also asserted claims
against Police Chief Mikulec and the City of Ankeny for (1)
failure to provide training and supervision in performing
welfare checks and (2) liability under a theory of respondeat
superior. The district court granted summary judgment in
favor of all defendants. The court concluded that Officer
King's use of deadly force had been objectively
reasonable under the circumstances and that Chief Mikulec and
the City of Ankeny could not be held liable for inadequate
training or under a respondeat superior theory. Rogers and
review de novo a district court's order granting summary
judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, "view[ing]
the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs
and draw[ing] all reasonable inferences in their favor."
Dooley v. Tharp, 856 F.3d 1177, 1181 (8th Cir.
2017). Summary judgment is appropriate where "there is
no genuine dispute as to any material ...