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Past DPS Legal Reviews

May 2024 | Volume 22 No. 5

Georgia Department of Public Safety | Legal Division | (404) 624-7423

11th Circuit Court of Appeals



Shortly before 3 a.m. on January 10, 2018, brothers Michael and William Martin “were walking from a gym through a parking lot (“the parking lot”) headed to their car in a separate parking lot.” The Martin brothers were wearing workout clothes and toting backpacks. Michael also held a water bottle. Officer Duran with the Miami-Dade County Police (“MDCP”), who was also on foot, walked towards the Martins as they proceeded towards their car. Soon Officer Doyle, MDCP, arrived on the scene and turned on her body camera (the “video”), which also had sound. The video showed that the only car in the parking lot was Officer Duran’s; that the Martins were walking towards their car and were “engaged in  no  other  activity”;  and  that  Officer  Duran

followed in close proximity to the brothers.

Within the next 38 seconds of bodycam video, both Michael and William Martin were arrested:

The first 27 seconds of that 38 seconds of    the       video   show    Officer Duran grabbing William’s arm twice and then taking Michael down to the ground. Specifically, as the Martins walk, Officer Duran grabs William’s arm, preventing him from walking and crossing the lot. Michael then tells Officer Duran to “get your hands off of him,” “this is assault,” and “do not touch him.” William pulls away from Officer Duran’s grasp, and the Martins continue walking toward their car.

Officer Duran then told the Martins that they were “in the wrong place[,], to which Michael responded, “What have I done besides walk to my car?” Duran then asked the Martins where their car was, to which Michael replied, “That’s my business,” and William answered, “I’m walking to it.” Officer Doyle told Michael: “It’s not [your business]; it’s ours.”

At this point, Officer Duran gripped William’s arm and said, “I’m telling you to stop.” In response, Michael Martin said, “Yo, if you touch him again, that’s assault.” Duran reacted by sweeping Michaels legs out from under him and “slamming him into the ground.” At no point prior to executing this take-down maneuver had Duran “said or even hinted that Michael was under arrest.”

After seeing his brother slammed to the ground, William walked towards Duran and said, “Get off my brother,” “you’re assaulting him,” and “he didn’t do anything wrong and you know it.” Officer Doyle then tased William, in response to Officer Duran’s instruction. While Duran still held Michael Martin pinned to the ground, both Michael and William told the officers that they had the keys to their car, which was in the other nearby parking lot. In response, Doyle addressed Michael: “We asked you to stop walking and did you [expletive deleted] stop? No.” Michael responded: “We don’t have to stop.”

After other officers arrived on the scene, the Martins were charged with loitering or prowling, battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting an officer with violence. Both brothers were found not guilty of all criminal charges after a jury trial.


The Martins subsequently filed an amended complaint against Officers Duran and Doyle (the “Officers”) and the MDCP, asserting claims of false arrest, excessive force, and malicious prosecution. (This summary focuses on the false arrest and excessive force claims.) The Officers moved to dismiss the civil case, asserting a qualified immunity defense. The Officers appealed from the federal district court’s denial of the motion to dismiss.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (“Court of Appeals” or “Court”) rejected the Officers’ contention that the Court “must accept the statements in the police report as true and that they established reasonable suspicion for Officer Duran to stop the Martins by grabbing William’s arm twice and then taking down Michael.” The Court explained: “Given the amended complaint alleges the police report is materially false and the video and amended complaint taken together contradict the police report, we cannot consider the police report as true for the purposes of this appeal of the motion to dismiss.” The Court wrote:


The amended complaint . . . alleged that the police report was ‘materially false’ and was contradicted by Officer Doyle’s body camera video. Moreover, before Officer Duran’s grabbing of William’s arm twice, the video shows no conduct by the Martins other than their walking through the parking lot and both saying they were walking to their car. The amended complaint also alleged, and the video confirms, that Officer Duran approached the Martins in an empty parking lot devoid of cars. The video shows only Officer Duran’s police car.


Based on Eleventh Circuit precedent, the Court construed the allegations in the amended complaint and the bodycam footage in the light most favorable to the Martins and found that

Officer Duran encountered the Martins, two Black males, at 3:00 a.m. while they were walking from a gym across the parking lot to their car and engaging in no other conduct. Officer Duran followed

them and forcibly grabbed William’s arm twice while William was walking. Michael verbally objected twice when Officer Duran grabbed William’s arm. Officer Duran then slammed Michael into the ground. William then verbally objected and was tased by Officer Doyle. With this version of events, we turn to qualified immunity.


In evaluating a claim of qualified immunity, the Court first determines whether the government officials (in this case, Officers Duran and Doyle) were acting in their discretionary authority. In the Officers’ case, the Court concluded:, “It is undisputed that the Officers were acting within their discretionary authority.” Therefore, the burden shifted to the plaintiffs (Michael and William Martin) to “establish that the official is not entitled to qualified immunity by showing the official’s conduct (1) violated a constitutional right (2) that was clearly established at the time of the official’s conduct.”

In its review of the plaintiffs’ false arrest claim against the Officers, precedent stated that “[t]he question ‘is not whether reasonable suspicion existed in fact, but whether the officer had ‘arguable’ reasonable suspicion to support an investigatory stop.’” The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of the Officers’ qualified immunity as to the Martins’ false arrest claims. The Court found:


At the time of the Officers’ conduct in 2018, it was clearly established that a stop made without arguable reasonable suspicion and an arrest made without arguable probable cause violate the Fourth Amendment . . . In 2018, any reasonable police officer would know that he or she could not stop and arrest the Martins for merely walking through a parking lot at night.

The Martins’ excessive force claim asserted two theories, each of which this summary will discuss, in turn.

  1. The Martins’ “Artificial” Excessive Force Claim

This theory “is an ‘artificial’ excessive force claim—a claim that any force used was excessive because the stop and arrest were unlawful.” The Court explained that “an ‘artificial’ excessive force claim is not a discrete claim and is subsumed within a false arrest claim.” Therefore, the Court noted that “[w]hile the Martins’ ‘artificial’ excessive force claims fail to state independent excessive force claims, they remain relevant to any subsequent determination of damages on their false arrest claims, as they may recover ‘damages suffered because of the use of force in effecting the arrest.’”

  1. The Martins “Genuine” Excessive Force Claim

This theory is “genuine”, per 11th Circuit precedent, because it “relates to the manner in which an arrest was carried out, independent of whether law enforcement had the power to arrest.” The Court reasoned:

[W]e cannot say that the Martins fail to state plausible ‘genuine’ excessive force claims. The Officers’ uses of force— slamming Michael into the ground and tasing William—were not ‘reasonably proportionate to the need for that force’ given the totality of the circumstances facing the Officers prior to that force . . . While the audio does capture some verbal objection to Officer Duran’s conduct, there is no clear or obvious physical aggression or resistance shown by either Martin brother prior to the Officers’ use of force.

Additionally, the Court determined, “[I]t was clearly established at the time of the Officers’ conduct that a gratuitous use of force is excessive when a suspect is not resisting arrest.” Therefore, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of Officer Duran’s and Officer Doyle’s qualified immunity defense on the Martins’

“genuine” excessive force claims. Martin v. Miami Dade County, No. 23-10841, 2024 WL 1434329

(11th Cir., April 3, 2024).



Georgia Court of Appeals


The Gwinnett County police pulled over a vehicle driven by Youn on June 21, 2020, at 12:55 AM for failure to maintain lane. Youn was subsequently charged with DUI per se, DUI less safe, and failure to maintain lane. In the trial court, Youn filed a motion to suppress one of the breath samples he provided on the Intoxilyzer 9000, arguing that the State exceeded the number of tests allowed under OCGA § 40-6-392, Georgia’s statute regarding chemical tests in DUI cases (and any civil case arising out of an alleged DUI violation). The statute states, in part:

In all cases where the arrest is made on or after January 1, 1995, and the state selects breath testing, two sequential breath samples shall be requested for the testing of alcohol concentration. For either or both of these sequential samples to be admissible in the state’s or plaintiff’s case-in-chief, the readings shall not differ from each other by an alcohol concentration of greater than

0.020 grams and the lower of the two results shall be determinative for accusation and indictment purposes and administrative license suspension purposes. No more than two sequential series of a total of two adequate breath samples each shall be requested by the state[.] . . . An adequate breath sample shall mean a breath sample sufficient to cause the breath-testing instrument to produce a printed alcohol concentration analysis.

(OCGA § 40-6-392 (a) (1)(B))

During the hearing on Youn’s motion to suppress one of the breath samples, the prosecution introduced three Intoxilyzer 9000 printouts as evidence, all of which were dated June 21, 2020:

  1. A printout time-stamped 1:30 AM, which “did not yield a BAC reading, noting at the bottom, ‘*Insufficient Sample — Insufficient Sample. Subject did not provide a sufficient sample within the time allotted.’”
  2. A printout time-stamped 1:37 AM, showing “Breath Sample 1”, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of 0.121. This printout noted: “Calibration Check Out of Tolerance. Result of calibration check was outside of the defined ”
  3. A printout time-stamped 1:58 AM, which included “Breath Sample 1” and “Breath Sample 2”, with BAC levels of 0.121 and 0.114,

Youn contended that, based on the results on the second and third printouts (i.e., BAC levels of 0.121, 0.121 and 0.114), he had provided “three sufficient and valid breath samples” and, therefore, the third sample of 0.114 “should be excluded from evidence pursuant to OCGA § 40-6-392 (a)(1)(B), because once the State has two sufficient samples, its right to request further breath tests under the statute ends.” (Youn did not challenge the admissibility of the 1:30 AM “Insufficient Sample”.)

In its ruling on Youn’s motion, the trial court concluded “that the final breath sample which yielded a BAC of 0.114 should not be admitted because the State already had obtained two sufficient samples (both of which yielded a BAC of 0.121) before requesting the final sample.”

The prosecution filed an immediate appeal from the trial court’s ruling.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision to grant Youn’s motion to suppress the breath sample reading of 0.114. The Court reasoned that, since OCGA § 40-6-392 (a)(1)(B) “permit[ted] the State to request ‘two sequential series of a total of two adequate breath samples each,’ the State in this case was

permitted to request a third test, and the two resulting breath samples are admissible.” State v. Youn, No. A24A0705, 2024 WL 2122527 (Ga. Ct. App., May 13, 2024).

ALS Reminder

Take the implied consent card to the ALS Hearing that was read to the DUI defendant. When testifying at the ALS Hearing, provide testimony regarding how you determined the age- appropriate implied consent notice to read to the DUI defendant. The implied consent notice must be read into the record at the ALS Hearing.

GA DPS Headquarters

The Department of Public Safety Legal Review is published with the approval of 

Colonel W. W. Hitchens III

Legal Division

Joan Crumpler, Director Clare McGuire, Deputy Director

Dee Brophy, ALS Attorney

Nkenge Green, Open Records Attorney Manager Shanna Lewallen, Legal Intern

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