In a recent ruling, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling in favor of police officers in a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against the officers who arrested an individual for having a rifle, bayonet, handgun, and other weapons in a public park on the basis that the officers had qualified immunity. Pierner-Lytge v. Hobbs.
Police were contacted by a number of parents of children playing in a park that a woman was in the park wearing a rifle with a bayonet on her back and a handgun strapped to her hip, along with pepper spray, a baton, and two pairs of handcuffs. Police arrived at the scene and ultimately arrested her for disorderly conduct. She sued, claiming the police violated her civil rights in arresting her without probable cause. The district court ruled in favor of the officers, finding they had qualified immunity in this action. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit upheld the ruling in favor of the officers, finding that they were entitled to qualified immunity in this case because they reasonably believed they had probable cause to arrest the individual based on the circumstances at the time of arrest.