Oklahoma City, OK (CN) — An off-duty cop who was detained after being mistaken for a terrorist was not falsely arrested, the Oklahoma Court of Appeals ruled.
Joshua Shaw was at an Oklahoma City pub with a female officer in December 2012. They were talking about going to the gun range and shooting their weapons.
Another off-duty officer overheard them and feared that they were planning terrorist acts. He talked to the bartender, who told him that the couple were police officers, not terrorists.
Still, the officer called Oklahoma City police.
Shaw complained that one officer yanked him off his bar stool and another dragged him outside. Shaw told them he was also a cop, and one of the officers noticed his badge under his jacket.
Shaw claimed that he was detained for 25 minutes and that the officers explained to him that an off-duty cop had reported that someone was discussing shooting an AK-47.
Shaw sued Oklahoma City for false arrest, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The city moved to dismiss the case, arguing that its officers had probable cause to detain Shaw. The trial court ruled in the city’s favor.
Shaw appealed, but the Oklahoma Court of Appeals also ruled for the city.
According to Judge William Hetherington Jr., Shaw cannot prevail on his emotional distress claim because he failed to show that the officers acted in bad faith.
He added that Shaw cannot win on his assault claim, because it would fall outside the scope of the officers’ employment.
“(The) city’s motion for summary judgment lists as an ‘undisputed fact’ that Shaw believes the officers were acting intentionally and maliciously and attaches his deposition testimony as support,” Hetherington wrote.
He also agreed with the city that Shaw was not falsely arrested because he admitted to being off-duty and carrying a gun in a bar.
“The serious nature of the information communicated to OKCPD by an undisputedly reliable source and then communicated to the police officers is sufficient to warrant 1) reasonable belief Shaw has committed or is committing a felony and 2) the officers’ actions in seizing a potentially armed and dangerous arrestee in a public place to protect not only the customers but also the officers themselves,” he wrote.
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