Further thoughts on the Canton shocker
The fellows lawyer posts on Ohioans for Concealed Carry that the City offered to drop charges if he'd give them a waiver of liability, he refused, and they of course had to drop charges anyway. (scroll down to July 13 posting: " At the first pretrial, the prosecutor offered to dismiss all charges for a release of liability (promise they wouldnt be sued). I refused their offer")
1. I'd think they would have skipped that offer, since it sounds uncommonly like extortion to me. We will drop criminal charges if you give us something of monetary value....
2. In a §1983 claim, the person who violated rights is of course liable. The problem is always with proving liability of the City or other governmental unit. The ordinary respondeat superior (the principal is liable for the acts of his agent) doesn't apply, you have to show that the city itself did something that makes it liable. This usually takes the form of arguing insufficient training, or an extensive list of violations so long that violating a right becomes unwritten policy. (And the loss rate here is high). Or ratification -- the city did something that retroactively endorsed the violation, essentially. If you give your agent a bonus for his illegal acts, or a commendation, then you become liable for them.
I wonder if the city's plea offer isn't ratification of the violation. The arrest was the officer's problem, but the prosecution is theirs. They demand something of value from the victim -- specifically, a release from liability for the officer and the city -- as a price for their dismissing. The principal has used its power in order to protect its agent from liability for wrongdoing.