Archives for posts with tag: arrest

This case involved multiple search warrants executed simultaneously, particularly a no-knock entry with alleged excessive force. This is another case of law enforcement being described as ninja because of their SWAT clothing.


CASE NO. 05-3036
2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52976

Filed July 18, 2006, Opinion by US District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren,

Plaintiffs allege that defendants violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights in various ways in connection with the execution of a search warrant on the business and residence of plaintiffs Duane and Donna Tolliver.


Plaintiff Archer was sitting at a desk in the garage of Alternators Plus when the warrant was executed. According to Archer, a law enforcement officer dressed in a “ninja suit” entered the business, pointed a gun at him and screamed for him to get on the floor. Archer later identified this officer as Deputy Grayham. According to Archer, four or five officers pulled him to the floor and one of the officers handcuffed him. After about 15 or 20 minutes, officers set Archer up in a chair but his handcuffs were not removed until approximately 15 to 30 minutes later.


Officers found no contraband at the Tollivers’ business or residence and no charges were filed against any of the named plaintiffs, with the exception of Mungle.


Four other search warrants were executed simultaneously with the one at issue. Mike Tolliver, Plaintiff Duane Tolliver’s brother, was arrested, charged, and ultimately convicted of methamphetamine manufacturing as a result of items seized during the execution of these warrants.

The Court found that the no-knock entry and uses of forces were not excessive under the circumstances. Therefore,

plaintiffs’ claims should be DISMISSED, with prejudice, in their entirety and the Court will so order

After his conviction for possession of burglary tools, Mark Thomas sued Nebraska Police Officers (particularly Officer Griss) for planting the evidence. Thomas was arrested for not paying his hotel bill and so theft of services from the hotel. He was arrested in the hotel lobby. Evidence obtained from a bag taken from the hotel room included:

a Pickmaster lock kit containing lock-picking equipment, a lock pick gun, toe nail clippers, a Swiss army knife, a black ninja hood, a pair of black leather gloves, and other items.

MARK C. THOMAS, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. DALE HUNGERFORD, Individually and in his official capacity as police officer for the city of Kearney, Nebraska; MICHAEL KIRKWOOD, Individually and in his official capacity as police officer for the city of Kearney, Nebraska, Defendants, JEFF GRISS, Individually and in his official capacity as police officer for the city of Kearney, Nebraska, Defendant/Appellant.
No. 93-3232
23 F.3d 1450

Filed – May 11, 1994

Thomas’s amended complaint as stating a cause of action against Griss on two grounds: that Griss had conducted an inventory search of Thomas’s duffel bag that was not in accordance with established procedures, and that Griss had planted the black ninja hood and the “o” ring in the duffel bag. The district court denied Griss’s motion for summary judgment, and this appeal followed.

Noting in footnote #1:

Although the denial of a summary judgment motion is not a final judgment, a district court’s denial of a qualified immunity claim is an immediately appealable “final decision” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1291.


The order denying Griss’s summary judgment motion is reversed, and the case is remanded to the district court for entry of judgment dismissing the complaint.

Explaining about the planted evidence:

The district court also denied Griss’s motion for summary judgment on Thomas’s claim that Griss planted a black ninja hood and an “o” ring in Thomas’s duffel bag. The magistrate judge construed Thomas’s complaint to allege that because the hood and “o” ring did not appear on Ward’s inventory form, Griss must have planted the items. Griss argues that he is absolutely immune from this claim because the allegation that he planted evidence is simply an assertion that he committed perjury when he testified at Thomas’s trial about the events surrounding Thomas’s arrest. Thomas concedes that Griss would be entitled to absolute immunity on such a claim, for officers are absolutely immune from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for damages arising out of their alleged perjurious testimony at trial. Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325, 342, 75 L. Ed. 2d 96, 103 S. Ct. 1108 (1983). Thomas argues, however, that Griss did more than perjure himself, contending that Griss planted some of the evidence that the prosecutor used against him. Although absolute immunity may not shield Griss against such a claim, the district court should nevertheless have granted Griss’s summary judgment motion.

The inventory search was also found acceptable and not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, at least in part because the defendant himself asked to have the contents of the bag inventoried.

I think an “o” ring is a metal piece from a lock (in this case “a Kawneer-brand lock”) that can be used for breaking glass like car windows (see similarly Ninja rocks which will be mentioned in future case). But what makes a “black ninja hood” different from a mere black hood or black hood mask, this is not entirely clear to me, other than to further implicate that the defendant’s possessions are burglary tools. As if the tools themselves have intent, and this hood intended to be ninja.