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Valderrama v. Rousseau

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

March 16, 2015

ROBERTO VALDERRAMA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
OFFICER CARL ROUSSEAU, BRAULIO GONZALEZ, YASMINA SMITH, f.k.a. Yasmina Elayacoubi, Defendants - Appellants

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 1:11-cv-24637-MGC.

For Robert Valderrama, Plaintiff - Appellee: Michael Miro Garcia Petit, Law Office of Michael Garcia Petit, PA, Miramar, FL.

For CARL ROUSSEAU, Officer, Braulio Gonzalez, Yasmina Smith, f.k.a.: Yasmina Elayacoubi, Defendants - Appellants: Michael B. Valdes, Robert Anthony Cuevas Jr., Eric Kirby Gressman, Bernard Pastor, Richard C. Seavey, Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office, Miami, FL.

Before TJOFLAT, JILL PRYOR and COX, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1109

JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judge:

In the early morning hours of January 24, 2006, Detective Carl Rousseau of the Miami-Dade County Police Department stopped a vehicle driven by Ricardo Garcia. During the traffic stop, Detective Rousseau shot Mr. Garcia's passenger, Roberto Valderrama, in the genitals. After he was shot, Mr. Valderrama was arrested for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, although the charges ultimately

Page 1110

were dropped. This appeal arises out of a civil lawsuit Mr. Valderrama filed against Detective Rousseau and two other officers involved in his arrest, Sergeants Yasmina Smith and Braulio Gonzalez. Mr. Valderrama brought claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the officers for excessive use of force, false arrest, and deliberate indifference to his serious medical need, as well as other claims under state law. The officers moved for summary judgment based on qualified immunity and state law sovereign immunity. The district court granted in part and denied in part their motions, and the officers appealed. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and dismiss in part for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Around 6:30 a.m. on January 24, 2006, Detective Rousseau, Sergeant Smith, and Sergeant Gonzalez were patrolling Miami's Overtown neighborhood in separate, unmarked police cars. Detective Rousseau claims he stopped Mr. Garcia's car because he saw a pedestrian approach the car and hand the passenger a metallic object that appeared to be a weapon. Both Messrs. Valderrama and Garcia testified, however, that no pedestrian approached Mr. Garcia's car and that neither occupant of the car had a firearm.[1]

At the time Detective Rousseau stopped Mr. Garcia's vehicle, Sergeant Smith was driving by and came to assist. Sergeant Smith initially stopped her car behind Detective Rousseau's, but she moved it after Detective Rousseau radioed her to request that she pull in front of Mr. Garcia's car. Sergeant Smith then exited her car and approached Mr. Garcia's. Once outside her vehicle, Sergeant Smith saw Mr. Valderrama throw what appeared to be a crack pipe out the car window. Mr. Valderrama admits that Mr. Garcia had a crack pipe in the car, that Mr. Garcia told him to throw the pipe out the window when they were stopped, and that he did in fact throw the pipe out the passenger side window.

Upon approaching Mr. Garcia's vehicle, Detective Rousseau directed him in English to put his hands up. When Detective Rousseau repeated the direction in Spanish, Mr. Garcia complied. Mr. Valderrama testified that at this time he had his hands placed " on [his] knees or against [his] stomach" to make sure they were visible to Detective Rousseau. Valderrama Decl. ¶ 15. Throughout this encounter, Detective Rousseau had his gun pointed at Mr. Garcia's head. Detective Rousseau then fired a shot at Mr. Valderrama; the bullet penetrated his penis, exited his scrotum and testicle, entered his thigh, and exited his buttock. It is undisputed that the shooting occurred at 6:30:42 a.m., approximately 20 seconds after Detective Rousseau approached the car.

Sergeant Smith heard the gunshot. She asked Detective Rousseau if he had fired his gun, but he did not answer her. She then approached Mr. Garcia's car and saw Mr. Valderrama bleeding from his groin. She directed Mr. Valderrama to get out of the car, and he did. When Sergeant Smith saw the blood on Mr. Valderrama's blue jeans, she cried out " Oh, my God!" Valderrama Decl. ΒΆ 50. Mr. ...


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