GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The case of James King, the man who was beaten by a plainclothes FBI agent and GRPD officer in 2014, was handed a defeat Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the case isn’t over.
King was 21 years old and a Grand Valley State University student when he was wrongly mistaken for a home invasion suspect, and arrested by those law enforcement officials while walking down Leonard Street.
The three scuffled – all of it caught on camera – and King, who said he thought the plainclothes officers were muggers, was charged with resisting arrest. A jury eventually found him not guilty.
Thursday’s SCOTUS ruling didn’t mark an end to the case. The high court sent it back down to the 6th Circuit Court for more argument. The case deals with the issue of qualified immunity, a provision that shields government officials from criminal charges if they are acting in good faith. After five years of the legal battle, King’s case still hasn’t reached a jury, but King’s attorney said the SCOTUS ruling gets them one step closer.
“It didn’t do what the government wanted, which was for the court to end this case,” said Institute for Justice Attorney Patrick Jaicomo. “It was a technical win for the government but a substantive win for James King because his path to a jury in this case is still ongoing.”
No dates have been set for the circuit court hearings.
“If we win there, all we get is the opportunity to go to court and tell James’s story,” said Jaicomo.