The opinion of the court was delivered by: Getzendanner, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Ebb Spriggs seeks damages for injuries
allegedly caused by police misconduct. Named as defendants
are both the allegedly culpable individual officers and
their employer, the City of Chicago. Pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the City has moved to dismiss all
claims against it. For the following reasons, this motion
According to plaintiff's allegations which are taken as
true for the purposes of this motion, plaintiff, a black
individual, was a victim of gross police brutality.
Plaintiff alleges that around 11:30 p. m. on November 30,
1979, numerous armed plain-clothes officers demanded entry
to his home on Chicago's west side. The officers, at least
some of whom were white, did not identify themselves as
policemen. In fear for his life, plaintiff attempted to
flee through his rear door. However, he was quickly
and thereupon subjected to a severe beating. Following the
attack, the police officers searched plaintiff's home,
finding and removing several guns. Plaintiff was then
arrested and taken to the police station where he was held
for four hours and charged with violating several Chicago
ordinances. The States Attorney of Cook County subsequently
dismissed all charges.
According to plaintiff, at no time during these events
were any arrest or search warrants outstanding and the
individual defendants did not have probable cause to
believe that he had committed a crime or that his home
contained any articles subject to seizure. Plaintiff claims
that the acts of the individual defendants deprived him of
rights secured by the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments and proximately caused him great injury.
In Count I plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive
damages of $50,000 against the individual officers under
both 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In Count II
plaintiff alleges that the above-described acts resulted from a
conspiracy between the individual defendants and "other persons
whose names are presently unknown." Complaint, ¶ 30. The goal
of this conspiracy, plaintiff alleges, was the denial to
plaintiff of his right to equal protection under the law. An
additional $50,000 of compensable relief is accordingly sought
from the individual defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1985.
In Count III plaintiff alleges that "it is the practice
and custom of the City of Chicago via its police officers
to treat black individuals in the manner and fashion
described in this Complaint." Complaint, ¶ 33. Plaintiff's
claim of custom is premised on the following theory. Instances
of police brutality against black individuals, he argues, occur
often and repeatedly. Further, the City of Chicago is aware of
all or most of these events. Yet in the face of this awareness,
the City has failed to curb its employees' behavior. More
specifically, the City has failed to discharge its "duty" to
prevent or discourage said instances from occurring by means of
investigation, punishment of the involved officer or other
means . . ." Complaint, ¶ 37. Plaintiff demands $50,000 from
the City under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The present motion concerns only Count III. It is thus
necessary to discuss only the contours of municipal
liability under Sections 1981 and 1983.*fn1
A. Basic Requisites of Municipal Liability.
It is by now hornbook law that cities are "persons"
within the meaning of Section 1983 and can thus be liable
for the constitutional torts of their agents. Monell v. New
York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct.
2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978), overruling on this point, Monroe
v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 81 S.Ct. 473, 5 L.Ed.2d 492 (1961). But
it is equally clear that the mere fact of agency is an
insufficient basis upon which to premise municipal liability;
"a municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a
respondeat superior theory." Monell, 436 U.S. at 691, 98 S.Ct.
at 2036. Rather, municipal liability attaches only when
Id., 436 U.S. at 690-1, 98 S.Ct. at 2035-36 (footnote and
citation omitted). Only when a municipal "policy" is the
motivating force behind a constitutional deprivation can it be
said that a city has, in the words of the statute, "cause[d
plaintiff] to be subjected" to the wrong. Id. 436 U.S. at 692,
98 S.Ct. at 2036. Thus, municipal liability under Section 1983
requires proof of two elements. First, it must be shown that
the acts of the city's agents were wrongful, i. e., there must
be plead a constitutional or statutory (Maine v. Thiboutot,
448 U.S. 1, 100 S.Ct. 2502, 65 L.Ed.2d 555 (1980)) violation.
Second, plaintiff must establish the existence of a ...