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 opposition to the Defendant-Officer’s request under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stay discovery in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana pending resolution of the Defendant-Officers’ appeal concerning the scope of discovery.

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 October 4, 2023, Defendants Davis and Dowdle moved the District Court to stay all discovery as to all claims.  The District Court granted-in-part and denied-in-part Davis and Dowdle’s motion, staying discovery only to Ms. Asante-Chioke’s 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claim against Dowdle, but allowing all other discovery to proceed.  Defendant Dowdle moved the Fifth Circuit to stay all discovery as to him in the District Court.

On December 18, 2023, Ms. Asante-Chioke filed her Opposition to Defendant Dowdle’s Rule 8 motion.  In it, she argued that the District Court was correct in its decision to allow discovery against Dowdle for the state-law claims that do not implicate qualified immunity because Dowdle is not entitled to qualified immunity.  Ms. Asante-Chioke also made a facial challenge to qualified immunity, invoking recent scholarship and a concurring opinion of Judge Willett of the Fifth Circuit to show that the text of 42 U.S.C. section 1983 as originally enacted by Congress expressly instructed that qualified immunity should not be available as a defense to such suits. 

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 at.

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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