Parish: Jefferson

Police Department(s): 

  • Louisiana State Police;
  • and the East Jefferson Levee District Police Department

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and White & Case LLP, on behalf of Plaintiff Malikah Asante-Chioke, recently filed their brief in opposition to the Defendant-Officer’s appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Ms. Asante-Chioke’s suit arises from the tragic killing of Ms. Asante-Chioke’s father, Jabari Asante-Chioke, a 52‑year‑old Black man, by the police on November 21, 2021, when he was experiencing a mental‑health crisis.  Officers Nicholas Dowdle, Jonathon Downing, Gerard Duplessis, and other unnamed officers shot Mr. Asante-Chioke thirty-six times.  Ms. Asante‑Chioke brought claims under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 for excessive force, as well as state-law claims for wrongful death, survival, battery, and negligence.  She also brought negligent supervision claims against the officers’ supervisors.    

On August 31, 2023, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied-in-part and granted-in-part Defendants Davis and Dowdle’s motion to dismiss Ms. Asante-Chioke’s amended complaint.  The Court ruled that she sufficiently pleaded that Dowdle, Downing, and Duplessis continued to shoot Mr. Asante‑Chioke after he was clearly incapacitated, which violated Mr. Asante-Chioke’s Fourth Amendment rights.  The District Court also found that, at the pleadings stage, Ms. Asante-Chioke’s allegations overcame Defendant Dowdle’s qualified-immunity defense.  Further, the District Court denied Defendant Dowdle’s request for a limited discovery order, holding that due to the specificity of the facts pleaded such an order was not necessary.  

On September 29, 2023, Defendants Davis and Dowdle filed a notice of interlocutory appeal only seeking review of the District Court’s denial of the request for an order limiting discovery.  On November 27, 2023, Defendants Davis and Dowdle filed their opening brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

On December 22, 2023, Ms. Asante-Chioke filed her brief in opposition.  In her brief, Ms. Asante-Chioke argues first that Defendant Davis (a supervising officer with no qualified-immunity defense) lacks standing to bring this appeal because the appeal only mentions Dowdle’s request to limit discovery.  Defendant Davis did not assert a qualified-immunity defense and does not face any federal-law claims; therefore, Davis has no standing to appeal.

Ms. Asante-Chioke further argues that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit lacks subject‑matter jurisdiction to review the aspect of the District Court’s ruling that Dowdle has appealed—i.e., its decision not to limit discovery to the issue of qualified immunity—because the ruling is neither a “final” judgment nor a special subset of intermediate orders subject to interlocutory review.  Lastly, Ms. Asante-Chioke argues that even if this issue properly were before the Fifth Circuit, district courts have broad discretion when determining discovery limits, and Dowdle cannot show that the District Court abused its discretion when denying Defendant Dowdle’s request.

Ms. Asante-Chioke is represented by Nora Ahmed and Bridget Wheeler at the ACLU of Louisiana and a team of attorneys at White & Case LLP, including Dana Foster, Alison Perry, Erika Murdoch, Soraya Todd, and Pablo Das.

The Defendants-Appellants in this case are:

  • Officer Nicholas Dowdle of the Louisiana State Police Department
  • Colonel Lamar A. Davis of the Louisiana State Police Department.

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