After two recent failed attempts to amend a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of a no-knock warrant executed by Little Rock police in 2017, the case was dismissed Friday at the request of the plaintiff, Roderick Talley.
Shortly before 5 p.m., U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson granted attorney Mike Laux's request, filed earlier in the day, to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice, which allows it to be refiled within a year. Two days earlier, Wilson denied Laux's latest effort to amend the suit to add as defendants three officers, a confidential informant and the Pleasant Ridge apartment complex where Talley lived.
A week earlier, Wilson denied Laux's March 26 motion to amend the suit to add 60 plaintiffs and more than 40 defendants, all of whom had been involved in the execution of other no-knock warrants in Little Rock.
Wilson said earlier last week, in denying the second request to expand the case, that, "It seems to me that the proposed additional defendants were either known or should have been known long ago. Now, the dispositive motions deadline is just over two weeks away and trial is set to commence on July 8."
Laux, who lives out of state but has a Little Rock office, couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday to say why he wanted to drop the case or whether he intends to refile it.
The city of Little Rock didn't object to the dismissal request but asked Wilson on Friday to bar Talley from adding any additional claims or parties if he refiles it.
Wilson's order didn't specify whether he would, as the city requested, prohibit Tally from "changing the substance and nature of his complaint as it currently stands."
Talley, who now lives in Sherwood, filed his original lawsuit on Dec. 6, 2017, acting as his own attorney, alleging that his civil rights were violated when police searched his apartment at 11702 Pleasant Ridge Road at 6:22 a.m. Aug. 10, 2017.
Attorney Reggie Koch of Little Rock was appointed last year to help Talley properly serve the defendants named in his amended federal lawsuit. The suit alleged that Talley was arrested a week after three officers and a confidential informant "staged a fake drug buy" from Talley's residence to fool a district judge into issuing a search warrant.
On Oct. 14, the case captured national attention after the allegations, and links to videos taken inside and outside Talley's apartment by his security cameras, were published in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
One of the videos showed a man later determined to be the confidential informant knocking on Talley's door on Aug. 3, 2017, when Talley wasn't home and then walking away and meeting with an officer in the breezeway. The lawsuit alleged that officers used that incident to seek a no-knock warrant, claiming that the informant bought cocaine from Talley that day as police stood by.
The following week, a video taken inside Talley's apartment showed the door flying open as Talley slept on a couch and his dog walked around near him. The door landed on Talley, who said he suffered serious injuries as a result. Talley said officers also threatened to shoot the dog.
Laux signed onto the case on Oct. 24 and called news conferences to complain about police tactics in seeking no-knock warrants.
Then on Nov. 14, Talley was arrested outside the Cross County Courthouse, where he was scheduled for a jury trial on a forgery charge but was accused of fleeing, stealing a rental car and hitting a sheriff's deputy with it.
In denying Laux's first request to add more than 100 parties, Wilson called the complaint vague. He said that while it appeared Talley wanted to add as a plaintiff everyone who has been subject to a no-knock warrant in Little Rock, each plaintiff would have a "unique situation" that would require its own lawsuit.
Laux said later that he had tried to add the additional plaintiffs into the same case because all were alleging "a common, unconstitutional 'no-knock' policy" at the Police Department.
Metro on 04/15/2019
CORRECTION: Attorney Reggie Koch of Little Rock was appointed last year to help Roderick Talley properly serve the defendants named in his amended federal lawsuit over the execution of a no-knock search warrant by Little Rock police. An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the nature of the appointment.
Print Headline: Suit challenging no-knock warrants in Little Rock is dismissed