Supreme Court allows excessive force lawsuit to proceed

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Supreme Court is allowing a lawsuit to go forward alleging police officers used excessive force when arresting a Sioux Falls woman in 2016.

Nichole Boggs sued in Second Circuit Court for injuries she suffered when two police officers took her into custody while investigating a call for help at her apartment. When officers arrived they found an injured man, Boggs’ son, outside the apartment complex and determined he had been hurt in his mother’s apartment.

Boggs refused to let the officers into her apartment. Eventually another son came out of the apartment with injuries, so police entered the unit without a warrant or consent.

In its recently released opinion, Supreme Court justices agree that circumstances at the time created an exception to the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches.

But the Supreme Court did not agree that the police officers accused of excessive force are entitled to qualified immunity, which generally protects them from personal liability, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

The Supreme Court has upheld the circuit court’s refusal to summarily dismiss the claim of excessive force. But the high court says the lower court should have found the warrantless search to be legal.

In its opinion, justices agree with the circuit court’s finding that given the circumstances, a jury might find that the officers used excessive force.

The Supreme Court has returned the case to the Second Circuit, where the lawsuit will continue to settlement or trial.