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MOON v. WINFIELD
May 10, 1974
DIANNE MOON ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
MICHAEL WINFIELD, POLICE OFFICER DOE, AND JAMES B. CONLISK, JR., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marovitz, District Judge.
Motion for Summary Judgment
In this suit alleging police brutalization of several citizens,
defendant Conlisk, Superintendent of Police of the City of
Chicago at all times relevant to this action, seeks once again
to have this court summarily grant judgment for him. (A full
description of plaintiffs' grievances against movant Conlisk,
and the court's opinion previously denying this defendant's
motion for summary judgment, are found at 368 F. Supp. 843; a
copy is attached hereto for convenience.) As grounds for
renewing his motion, Conlisk submits additional evidence that
he did act to have Officer Winfield discharged in C.R. #35411,
and further claims that he did act to discipline Winfield in
every instance of misconduct, and to have him removed from the
ranks of the Chicago Police Department.
Plaintiffs respond that the scope of the facts in resolving
this motion is not so narrow as to hinge upon Conlisk's action,
or inaction, in performing "the ministerial act of requesting
charges be drawn up", in that such an act "recognized Winfield's
unfitness as a policeman yet allowed him to continue street
duty . . ." Plaintiffs reiterate their theory that Conlisk has
the affirmative duties of controlling the personnel of the Police
Department, Police Board Rules and Regulations, § III;
protecting the personal safety of persons in the community, Huey
v. Barloga, 277 F. Supp. 864, 872 (N.D.Ill. 1967); and preventing
the recurrence of unconstitutional police conduct, Schnell v.
City of Chicago, 407 F.2d 1084 (7th Cir. 1969); and that Conlisk
has breached this duty because, while knowing that Winfield was
an imminent threat to the safety of citizens, the Superintendent
nonetheless failed to suspend him or transfer him to
Defendant himself has cited Huey v. Barloga, supra, 277 F. Supp.
To discharge this responsibility (the duty to
maintain an orderly society) state and local
officials must take reasonable steps to preserve law
and order and to provide for the personal safety of
individual members of society. (Emphasis provided by
We do not quarrel with the contention that only "reasonableness"
is required; however, it does seem clear that it is still
possible for a jury to find that Conlisk unreasonably failed to
fulfill his duties in light of the information he had before him.
As we said in our last opinion:
This court has no intention of prejudging the case
before us. It may well be that grounds will be
developed in discovery and at trial which will
exonerate defendant Conlisk from the allegations
against him; we have no way to foresee what
extenuating circumstances might have prevailed at the
time. For purposes of this motion, however, it is
possible that a jury might find that Conlisk
unreasonably failed to fulfill his affirmative
duties. . . . 368 F. Supp. at 845.
Therefore, we again dutifully decline to grant defendant's
motion for a summary judgment.
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