United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
PEGGY SHUMPERT, individually and as the Administrator of the Estate of Antwun Shumpert, Sr., THE ESTATE OF ANTWUN SHUMPERT, SR., and CHARLES FOSTER PLAINTIFFS
THE CITY OF TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI, MAYOR JASON SHELTON, CHIEF BART AGUIRRE, and OFFICER TYLER COOK DEFENDANTS
SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
their Second Amended Complaint , the Plaintiffs assert a
number of federal and state law claims against the City of
Tupelo Mississippi, Jason Shelton, the mayor of Tupelo in his
official capacity, Bart Aguirre, the Chief of the Tupelo
Police Department in his official capacity, and Tupelo Police
Officer Tyler Cook in both his official and individual
capacities. The City filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment , requesting that the Court dismiss all of the
Plaintiffs' claims against them. The Plaintiffs filed a
Response , and the City filed a Reply  making these
issues ripe for review.
Factual and Procedural Background 
evening of June 18, 2016, the Tupelo Police Department
Special Operations Unit was conducting surveillance of the
Townhouse Motel due to complaints of drug activity. One of
the officers on the surveillance team watched a vehicle enter
the motel parking lot without stopping at the office and then
exit about three minutes later. Suspecting that the occupants
of the vehicle were involved in narcotics activity, the
surveilling officer notified the team that the vehicle was
now headed north on South Gloster Street.
officer, Joseph Senter, was in his unmarked patrol car near
that location and started following the suspect vehicle.
After observing the vehicle make a right turn without
signaling, Senter activated his blue lights and attempted to
initiate a traffic stop. Senter radioed that the vehicle was
“slow rolling” him and continued to follow. The
vehicle went through a three-way stop without stopping and
made a left hand turn on Harrison Street. Then, the vehicle
then stopped and the driver, Antwun “Ronnie”
Shumpert, exited the vehicle and ran into a nearby
neighborhood. The passenger, Charles Foster, remained with
the vehicle. Senter gave chase on foot, identifying Shumpert
over the radio as black male wearing shorts and a maroon
jersey with the number five on it.
Cook was in the area, parked his patrol vehicle and set out
on foot with his K9, Alec, in an effort to locate Shumpert.
Alec led Cook to the rear of a nearby house where Cook
observed a hand trying to hold the door to the crawlspace
under the house closed from the inside. The area was dark,
and the only light illuminating the area was the light
attached to Cook's drawn gun. Cook opened the crawlspace
door and announced, “Tupelo Police Department, show me
your hands, come out from under the house, I have a dog, and
he will bite.” At this point, Shumpert attempted to
flee further under the house. Cook gave the bite command to
Alec and released him sending him under the house through the
crawlspace door. K9 Alec engaged Shumpert, and Shumpert began
punching the dog and slamming the dog's head up against
the floor joists above. Shumpert fought Alec off, but Alec
held on to Shumpert's jersey. Still engaged in a
struggle, Alec and Shumpert came out from under the house,
and in the process, Shumpert's maroon jersey came off. As
he exited the crawlspace, Shumpert charged and tackled Cook
with a football style tackle, with Shumpert ending up on top
of Cook punching him. Cook attempted to strike Shumpert with
his fist and gun. According to Cook, as he started to lose
consciousness, he shot Shumpert four times in succession.
officers were in the area and heard the gunshots. Officers
Senter and Adam Merrill were the first to arrive at the
scene. Senter handcuffed Shumpert and requested an ambulance.
Emergency medical personnel arrived within approximately five
minutes, administered aid to Shumpert, and then transported
him to the hospital. Cook was also transported to the
hospital where he was treated for bruising to his face.
Shumpert fled the scene of the traffic stop and Senter gave
chase, Foster remained with the vehicle, and was standing by
the vehicle with his hands in the air when Officer Jonathan
Johnson arrived, arrested him and placed him the back of a
police vehicle. Although Shumpert was driving, the car
belonged to Foster.
approximately forty-five minutes to one hour, the Mississippi
Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation
arrived, and the Tupelo Police Department turned the
investigation, both scenes, and Foster over to them.
ultimately died from his wounds.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs summary judgment. Summary
judgment is warranted when the evidence reveals no genuine
dispute regarding any material fact, and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The rule “mandates the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
reviewing the evidence, factual controversies are to be
resolved in favor of the non-movant, “but only when . .
. both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory
facts.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075. When such
contradictory facts exist, the Court may “not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.”
Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S.
133, 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).
moving party “bears the initial responsibility of
informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct.
2548. The nonmoving party must then “go beyond the
pleadings” and “designate ‘specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'”
Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (citation omitted).
42 U.S.C. § 1983 Municipal Liability
Plaintiffs assert two theories for municipal liability
against the City under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: the first
related to the City's training policies, and the second
related to Foster's detention.
municipality may only be held liable under §1983 when
the violation of a plaintiff's federally protected right
is attributable to the enforcement of a municipal policy or
pattern. Hall v. Robinson, 618 Fed.Appx. 759, 763
(5th Cir. 2015) (citing Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs. of City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct.
2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978)). In order to sustain a claim,
the Plaintiffs must demonstrate that their constitutional
rights were violated, and that the violation is attributable
to the enforcement of a City policy or practice. Saenz v.
City of El Paso, 637 Fed.Appx. 828, 831 (5th Cir. 2016)
(citing Valle v. City of Houston, 613 F.3d 536, 541
(5th Cir. 2010)). If they establish a constitutional
violation, the Plaintiffs may show that the violation was the
result of a City policy or practice in a number of ways.
Generally, municipal liability may be based upon a formally