United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
ESTATE OF TROY RAY BOYD, et al. PLAINTIFFS
PIKE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT TERRY
BEADLES' MOTION  FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PREMISED ON
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is the Motion  for Summary Judgment Premised on
Qualified Immunity filed by Defendant Terry Beadles. This
Motion is fully briefed. After due consideration of the
record, the submissions on file, and relevant legal
authority, the Court finds that the Motion should be granted.
undisputed facts in this case establish that on March 15,
2015, Deputy Terry Beadles of the Pike County Sheriff's
Department (“Deputy Beadles”) and the rest of his
shift were searching for a shooting suspect in the outskirts
of the City of McComb, Mississippi, Beadles Trial Tr. [42-4]
at 139-40, when Deputy Beadles received a call from dispatch
requesting medical assistance for a man who was seen slumped
over a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle (“ATV”),
bloodied with a possible head injury, and who may have been
dead, id. at 140, 142. Deputy Beadles and Officer
McDonald responded to the call.
Beadles testified that while he and Officer McDonald were en
route, dispatch advised them that the reporting party, Anna
Cutrer (“Ms. Cutrer”), had stated that the man
had several edged weapons on his vehicle. Id. at
140. Ms. Cutrer later testified that the man, Troy Ray Boyd
(“Mr. Boyd”), was not holding a weapon and that
she saw only a machete on the ATV. Cutrer Trial Tr. [48-2] at
94. Ms. Cutrer testified that she never mentioned that fact
to dispatch. Id. Ms. Cutrer did not know if Mr. Boyd
was too impaired to drive or if the ATV itself was
“kind of wobbly.” Id. at 95.
Beadles and Officer McDonald traveled to the area “not
knowing what the situation was” to try to contact the
individual because they “didn't know what the
ambulance crew was going to be running into.” Beadles
Trial Tr. [42-4] at 140. Dispatch later informed Deputy
Beadles that the man was now at the intersection of McEwen
Swamp Road and Highway 570 East. Id. at 141. Deputy
Beadles first saw Mr. Boyd driving on McEwan Swamp Road,
id. at 142, and “pulled up behind him”
and “realized that he wasn't running from me, but
he also was not stopping, ” id. Deputy Beadles
“thought maybe [Mr. Boyd] just was not aware of his
Beadles parked his marked patrol vehicle in front of Mr.
Boyd's ATV and exited his vehicle to attempt to speak
with Mr. Boyd. Id. Mr. Boyd rode around Deputy
Beadles' SUV and stopped in front of it. Id.
Deputy Beadles asked Mr. Boyd to get off the four-wheeler and
speak with him to assess the situation, but Mr. Boyd just
stared at him. Id. at 142-43. At that time, Deputy
Beadles did not intend to arrest Mr. Boyd, nor did he suspect
Mr. Boyd of committing a crime. Id. at 160. Deputy
Beadles' intent was to determine why Mr. Boyd was
Deputy Beadles was attempting to speak with Mr. Boyd, Mr.
Boyd accelerated his ATV. Id. at 143. Deputy Beadles
“reached out to grab [Mr. Boyd's] wrist and stay
ahold of him to say - to tell him, ‘Hey, I need you to
talk to me and tell me what's going on.'”
Id. Before Deputy Beadles could do so, Mr. Boyd
grabbed Deputy Beadles' left sleeve, tucked the
officer's arm under his arm, and fully accelerated the
ATV. Id. at 143-44. To avoid being dragged on the
asphalt, Deputy Beadles grabbed the back of Mr. Boyd's
sweatshirt and rested his abdomen on the ATV. Id. at
144. Deputy Beadles saw a machete strapped to the
four-wheeler's back rack. Id. After being
dragged for about fifty feet, Deputy Beadles freed himself
from Mr. Boyd's grasp, pushed off the back bar of the
ATV, and landed on the road. Id. at 144-45. Officer
McDonald pursued Mr. Boyd as Deputy Beadles returned to his
patrol vehicle. McDonald Trial Tr. [42-5] at 103.
Beadles radioed to Officer McDonald that he “didn't
care how far [Deputy Beadles] had to chase [Mr. Boyd], [the
officers] were going to charge him with assault on a police
officer.” Beadles Trial Tr. [42-4] at 162. Deputy
Beadles testified that his “training kicked in, ”
and his job at that point “was to stop somebody who
committed a violent crime.” Id.
officers pursued Mr. Boyd for two to two-and-a-half minutes.
McDonald Trial Tr. [42-5] at 103; Beadles Trial Tr. [42-4] at
146-47. Deputy Beadles testified that he chased Mr. Boyd at
speeds between forty-five and fifty miles an hour and that
Mr. Boyd “t[ook] corners at such a high rate of speed
on the four-wheeler that he was actually getting it up on two
wheels at points.” Beadles Trial Tr. [42-4] at 146-47.
Robbie Travis (“Mr. Travis”), an eyewitness to
the shooting who owns a similar ATV and has driven the same
ATV model as Mr. Boyd's, later stated his opinion that
Mr. Boyd's ATV could go only as fast as twenty-five or
thirty miles per hour. Travis Trial Tr. [48-6] at 13-15.
Deputy Beadles passed Mr. Boyd and unsuccessfully attempted
to conduct a rolling stop of the ATV. McDonald Trial Tr.
[42-5] at 106; Beadles Trial Tr. [42-4] at 148. Deputy
Beadles then drove further ahead and parked his vehicle at an
angle across the road, leaving “[a]n avenue of escape
for anybody who needed to get by.” Beadles Trial Tr.
[42-4] at 148-49. At this point, the parties' versions of
Deputy Beadles' Version
Beadles exited his vehicle and stood at the front left side
of his SUV to observe Mr. Boyd's approach. Id.
at 149-50. Mr. Boyd approached slowly at first, but then
rapidly accelerated when he was twenty-five yards from Deputy
Beadles. Id. at 150. Deputy Beadles drew his gun and
“continu[ed] to yell for him to stop” when he
“realized [Mr. Boyd] was not going to slow down.”
Id. at 150-51. Upon Deputy Beadles drawing his
firearm, Mr. Boyd “turned the four-wheeler slightly
towards [Deputy Beadles] and began to come directly at
[him].” Id. at 151. “At that point when
[Deputy Beadles] felt that [he] had no other option, that
[his] life was in jeopardy, [Deputy Beadles] began to take
defensive actions and defend [his] own life by firing at the
suspect.” Id. Deputy Beadles fired six rounds,
with approximately a “second-and-a-half” elapsing
between the first and last shot. Id. at 152. Deputy
Beadles testified that he ceased firing when he realized he
was no longer in jeopardy and Mr. Boyd was no longer
threatening him. Id. at 153.
Beadles got back into his vehicle and pursued Mr. Boyd.
Id. Officer McDonald later found Mr. Boyd face down
in a ditch a short distance away. McDonald Trial Tr. [42-5]
at 127. Officer McDonald informed Deputy Beadles that Mr.
Boyd was breathing but unresponsive. Beadles Trial Tr. [42-4]
at 153. Deputy Beadles radioed dispatch for an ambulance,
id. at 154, then he and Officer McDonald began
performing life-saving measures on Mr. Boyd until an
emergency medical technician arrived, id. at 155.
Unfortunately, Mr. Boyd passed away. Id. at 156. An
autopsy report found bullet “entrance wounds to the
right side of the back and left lower leg.” Autopsy
[42-8] at 2.
Travis lives on Archie Boyd Road in Pike County, Mississippi,
Travis Trial Tr. [48-6] at 12, and was at home on March 15,
2015, id. at 13. Mr. Travis heard sirens
“coming through the swamp, ” so he “stepped
out on the porch” and saw “two officers following
a four-wheeler.” Id. Deputy Beadles sped up,
passed Mr. Boyd, and parked his vehicle before stepping out
of it. Id. According to Mr. Travis, Deputy Beadles
was beside his car on the right side of the road, at
“[a]bout the middle” of his car. Id. at
17, 21. Mr. Boyd was in the far left lane, on the far inside
of the curve in the road, and Mr. Travis testified that if a
car would have been coming in the other direction, it would
have run over Mr. Boyd. Id. at 17.
Beadles “hollered” at Mr. Boyd to “[s]top,
stop, stop, ” id. at 16, but Mr. Boyd kept
driving on the inside of the curve, id. at 16-17.
Mr. Travis saw Deputy Beadles draw his weapon “[r]ight
before Troy was up even with him.” Id. at 17.
Mr. Travis testified that the officer never appeared to be in
any danger and he did not see Mr. Boyd make any moves towards
the officer. Id. at 18.
Estate of Troy Ray Boyd and minors Z.B. and G.B., by and
through their mother Amy Boyd (“Plaintiffs”), are
Mr. Boyd's wrongful death beneficiaries. Am. Compl. 
at 1-2. On February 8, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in
this Court against Deputy Beadles and Officer McDonald in
their individual capacities and against Pike County,
Mississippi, advancing claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Id. Plaintiffs claim that the individual defendants:
(1) “violat[ed] Troy's Fourth Amendment right to be
free from unreasonable seizures by chasing him without cause,
then using unreasonable, deadly force by shooting Troy four
times in the back, thereby causing his death;” and (2)
“failed to provide Boyd with adequate medical care as
requested by the 911 caller” in violation of Mr.
Boyd's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights. Id. at 5-6.
April 13, 2016, Officer McDonald filed a Motion  to
Dismiss Based on Qualified Immunity, which the Court
construed as a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Order
 at 3. The Court found that Officer McDonald was entitled
to qualified immunity and dismissed Plaintiffs' claims
against him on June 24, 2016. Id. at 1.
Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiffs' Amended
Complaint did not sufficiently allege that Officer McDonald
seized or used any force at all against Mr. Boyd.
Id. at 6, 7. Regarding Plaintiffs' Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment claims, the Court concluded that Officer
McDonald was never constitutionally required to provide Mr.
Boyd with medical care and that Plaintiffs failed to allege
facts that showed Officer McDonald responded in an
objectively unreasonable manner. Id. at 9.
11, 2016, Deputy Beadles filed a Motion  to Stay Case
Pending Criminal Prosecution, on grounds that a grand jury of
Pike County, Mississippi, had returned an indictment on
September 9, 2015, against Deputy Beadles on the charge of
manslaughter related to the same set of facts as in this
civil litigation. Mot.  at 1; Indictment [35-2]. The
Court entered an Order  staying the case, including a
stay of all discovery, pending final resolution of the
parallel criminal proceedings. Order  at 1. A jury trial
was held in the criminal case on September 27 and 28, 2016,
in the Circuit Court of Pike County,
Mississippi. Mot.  at 1-2. The jury returned a
verdict of not guilty, Def.'s Mem.  at 2, and on
April 5, 2017, the Court lifted the stay of proceedings.
2, 2017, Deputy Beadles filed his Motion  for Summary
Judgment Premised on Qualified Immunity. Deputy Beadles
contends that his first encounter with Mr. Boyd should not be
considered a stop, but even if so construed, there existed
reasonable suspicion to pull Mr. Boyd over for illegally
operating his vehicle, and that Deputy Beadles was justified
in pursuing Mr. Boyd after he assaulted the officer.
Def.'s Mem.  at 10. Deputy Beadles argues that his
use of deadly force was objectively reasonable because Mr.
Boyd posed a threat of serious harm to Deputy Beadles and
others, and that no controlling precedent has clearly
established that Deputy Beadles' actions were
unconstitutional. Id. at 11-12, 14. Deputy Beadles
asserts that this Court's analysis in its prior Order
 is equally applicable to Deputy Beadles with regard to
Plaintiffs' Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment
claims. Id. at 16.
counter that Deputy Beadles violated Mr. Boyd's right to
be free from unreasonable seizures because he has
acknowledged that the 911 call requested medical assistance,
Mr. Boyd was not suspected of any crime during the initial
stop, and officers usually do not ticket for driving a
four-wheeler on the road. Pls.' Mem.  at 8.
Plaintiffs argue that Deputy Beadles' use of force
violated Mr. Boyd's constitutional rights because Deputy
Beadles created the danger to Mr. Boyd by blocking the road,
Deputy Beadles should have known that Mr. Boyd would be
traveling in his direction when he passed Mr. Boyd, Deputy
Beadles did not fire his weapon until Mr. Boyd was beside
him, and Mr. Boyd could not travel at high speeds on an old
four-wheeler. Id. at 8-9, 13-14.
Beadles notes in his Reply that Plaintiffs failed in their
Response to argue in support of their Eighth Amendment claim
and made only a conclusory allegation that Deputy Beadles
violated Mr. Boyd's Fourteenth Amendment rights. Reply
 at 1-2. Deputy Beadles further posits that Mr.
Travis' testimony does not raise a triable issue of fact
as to excessive force. Id. at 6.
Relevant Legal Standard
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). If the movant carries this burden,
“the nonmovant must go beyond the pleadings and
designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine