Sixth Circuit Affirms Denial of Qualified Immunity in Fatal Police Shooting of Matthew Burroughs

  • August 15, 2023

On August 10, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an important, precedential ruling in favor of ECBAWM client the Estate of Matthew Burroughs, in a case seeking accountability for Mr. Burroughs’ death at the hands of police officers in Niles, OH.

On January 2, 2019, Matthew Burroughs was shot at eight times by Niles County Police Officers, even though he did not pose a serious or imminent threat to others. Mr. Burroughs was fatally wounded and died that day.

After Mr. Burroughs’s Estate filed a lawsuit, the officer who killed Mr. Burroughs sought dismissal of the case on qualified immunity grounds, claiming that his use of force against Mr. Burroughs was justified. The Sixth Circuit rejected this defense, holding that a reasonable officer “would not have had reason to believe that Burroughs posed a threat of imminent harm.”

The case was on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, which also rejected the defendant’s invocation of qualified immunity. The Sixth Circuit’s ruling paves the way for the case to move towards trial.

The Estate of Matthew Burroughs is represented by ECBAWM attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Earl S. Ward, and Vivake Prasad, along with co-counsel from Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP.