NEW ORLEANS —In its published decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the use of a single-shot analysis in police killing cases. The decision binds Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. 

Ms. Malikah Asante-Chioke brought forth a lawsuit on behalf of her father Jabari Asante-Chioke, a 52-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by Louisiana State Police officers 24 times while experiencing a mental health crisis in Jefferson Parish.

On August 31, 2023, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Ms. Asante-Chioke sufficiently pleaded that officers Nicholas Dowdle, Jonathan Downing, and Gerard 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 Dowdle’s qualified-immunity defense.  

In the midst of vacating the lower court’s qualified immunity discovery order, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that Ms. Asante-Chioke’s complaint was “well-pled” and that the district court “was correct in recognizing that to have continued shooting is a clear violation under this circuit precedent.”

“This decision from the Fifth Circuit is extremely significant and consequential for those fighting qualified immunity and police misconduct,” said Nora Ahmed, ACLU of Louisiana legal director. “Officers perpetuating violence in their communities should be put on notice: every single shot they take against community members can now be subjected to scrutiny in excessive force cases. This legal precedent should transform the way we argue police killing cases and pursue justice for victims of racist policing.”

Asante-Chioke v. Dowdle marks the eighth Fifth Circuit victory for the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab initiative, which seeks to challenge racially discriminatory policing practices and combat police violence against people of color through intensive litigation. The Justice Lab has obtained numerous legal victories and secured over half a million dollars in awards for victims of racist policing in Louisiana.

View full decision from the Fifth Circuit Court: