Last January, a young man with Down Syndrome was killed by police officers moonlighting as security guards in a Baltimore movie theater when he tried to sneak into a movie without a valid ticket. According to news reports released at the time, the police officers handcuffed the nearly 300-pound man, dragged him out of the movie theater on his stomach, and dropped him on the ground. At some point during the confrontation, the man entered cardiac arrest and died a short time later.
After his death, the man’s parents brought suit against several defendants, including the individual officers as well as the owner of the theater, Regal Cinemas, a Tennessee corporation. The claims against the defendants were several, but they included mostly allegations of gross negligence, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and “failure to train” claims against the State of Tennessee.
According to a recent news article, the judge presiding over the case heard the plaintiffs’ claims in an early proceeding in order to determine which claims had merit and should proceed to trial. The judge determined that all claims against the movie theater should be dismissed, since the movie theater was justified in asking the security officers to remove a man who had entered the theater without a ticket.