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Flowers v. Fiore

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
359 F.3d 24 (2004)


Facts

A Westerly, Rhode Island, resident named Nunzio Gaccione telephoned the police and informed them that he had just gotten into a fight with a man named Butch Corbin and that he heard Corbin was sending two black males to Gaccione’s house to possibly shoot him. The police dispatcher contacted Officer Darren Fiore (defendant) to respond to Gaccione’s home. After briefly speaking with Gaccione, Fiore sat in his patrol car about a half a mile away and watched for two black men in a gray vehicle as Gaccione had described. After seeing a single black man driving a gray vehicle, Fiore followed the car, activated his patrol car lights and signaled for the driver of the vehicle, Bernard Flowers (plaintiff), to pull over. Two other officers arrived, Michael Garafola (defendant), and Lawrence Silvestri (defendant) in separate patrol cars. Over the loudspeaker, Fiore ordered Flowers to show his hands through the driver’s side window, exit the vehicle, and walk backwards toward Fiore with his hands in the air. Each of the officers had their weapons drawn. Fiore frisked and then handcuffed Flowers and placed him in the back of the patrol car. At that point Garafola and Silvestri searched Flowers’ vehicle. Finding nothing, Fiore told Flowers about Gaccione’s report that two black men threatened him. Flowers angrily accused Fiore of racial profiling and then he and the officers left the scene. Fiore then drove by Gaccione’s home a couple of times and then left. Flowers filed a civil action against the officers and the Town of Westerly (collectively Defendants) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and several claims under state law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants and Flowers appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stahl, J.)

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