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MOON v. WINFIELD

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D


May 10, 1974

DIANNE MOON ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MICHAEL WINFIELD, POLICE OFFICER DOE, AND JAMES B. CONLISK, JR., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marovitz, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

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 that separation 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 non-sensitive assignment.

Defendant himself has cited Huey v. Barloga, supra, 277 F. Supp. at 870:

  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
  defendant.)

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.

19740510

© 1992-2003 VersusLaw Inc.



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