In twin opinions released May 27, the Eighth Circuit dispelled the impression that, even in a court dominated by nominees of Republican presidents, qualified immunity will inevitably block challenges to police officers’ use of deadly force or Tasers.

One decision, Masters v. City of Independence, Nos. 19-2199 & 19-2242, 2021 WL 2148494 (8th Cir. May 27, 2021), refused to overturn a jury’s verdict in response to an argument that the officer was entitled as a matter of law to qualified immunity. The second decision, Banks v. Hawkins, No. 19-3092, 2021 WL 2148516 (8th Cir. May 27, 2021), refused to overturn a denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity.

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