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Cop Clears Claims That|He Aimed Gun at Partner

(CN) - A police officer cannot pursue claims that her diabetic partner pulled his gun on her when she complained about his erratic behavior, a federal judge ruled.

In her federal complaint, Philadelphia police officer Yolaina Washington-Pope alleges that, soon after beginning the graveyard shift on Sept. 24, 2010, her partner, William Bailey, looked under their patrol car and in the trunk, claiming he had heard noises, though she had not.

Later on, Bailey allegedly slowed down and sped up in the wrong direction, stopped, and backed up, claiming that a car was following them, though again his partner noticed nothing out of the ordinary.

As the car behind drove away, Washington-Pope remembered hearing that Bailey once ran around a parking lot, pursued by other officers, according to the complaint.

Washington-Pope then allegedly asked her partner whether he had taken his "psychotic meds," and then clarified "your sugar medication." She later testified that she was unsure whether her partner's type I diabetes influenced his actions that night.

Bailey allegedly pointed his finger at Washington-Pope as said he had not taken any medicine. Washington-Pope said he then drove past their next assignment, leading her to say he should turn around.

When Washington-Pope said twice that Bailey was "f-ing tripping," he allegedly unsnapped his holster while she was not looking.

Washington-Pope said those words a third time and then turned to face Bailey but met with the barrel of his gun, shielding his "cold," "mean look," according to the complaint.

Washington-Pope then allegedly tried to open her locked door and thought of drawing her gun or using her Taser on Bailey, but instead asked, "You really gonna point a gun at me, really?"

With an empty, menacing stare, Bailey said nothing as Washington-Pope repeated her words, and he eventually holstered his gun and asked, "Now, what now?" the complaint states.

Bailey denies any memory of drawing his gun on his partner.

Upon returning to police headquarters, Bailey allegedly began hitting his vest and arguing with it, and Washington-Pope disarmed him and drove him to the hospital.

Though it is unclear what triggered Bailey's actions that night, the parties' experts said that hypoglycemic episodes can lead to odd behavior in diabetes patients.

Washington-Pope claims that Bailey violated her rights to liberty, bodily integrity, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth, Fifth, and 14th Amendments, and that Philadelphia was deliberately indifferent to his conduct.

Bailey, in turn, moved for summary judgment, and the city moved to dismiss.

U.S. District Judge Gene Pratter granted Bailey's motion but denied the city's last week.

"This case serves as a sobering reminder that federal law does not provide a remedy for every wrong or even every horrifying injury," Pratter wrote.

Although Washington-Pope's allegations are "doubtlessly distressing," the judge dismissed all claims against Bailey for his "outrageous, off-the-rails, and unlawful" behavior.

"Here, the uncontested verbal exchange between Officer Bailey and Officer Washington-Pope indicates not that Officer Bailey acted under any authority, actual or purported," Pratter wrote. "When she asked him whether he was taking his medication, he did not tell her to stop criticizing his police work and that he had the authority to conduct it however he saw fit. He never invoked his police authority at all. Rather, when Officer Washington-Pope told him he was 'f-g tripping,' he challenged her back: 'Say it again.' After another round or two of foul language, he drew. He did nothing to invoke any authority as an officer, and Officer Washington-Pope, by her account, thought not that he had any such authority, but rather that he was known for taking things too far in the past, or handling matters violently. Her instinctive reactions, to try to escape from the car or to Tase him or draw her own gun on him, were not the responses one would have to an officer asserting official authority; they were not how one would respond to a police officer acting consistent with his general duties."

Discovery may continue between the city and Washington-Pope, the ruling states.

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