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WALSH v. CITY OF CHICAGO

April 20, 1989

ROBERT L. WALSH, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, SUPERINTENDENT FRED RICE, JR., ASSISTANT DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT LEONARD ZALESKI, LIEUTENANT ROBERT T. CURRY, SERGEANT ROBERT ZDORA, SERGEANT PAUL L. TASCH, JR., SERGEANT GEORGE LESLIE, and OFFICER PATRICIA KANE, Individually and as officers of the Chicago Police Department of Defendant City of Chicago, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUFF

 BRIAN BARNETT DUFF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 This motion for summary judgment under Rule 56, Fed.R.Civ.P., turns largely on one question: did a now-deceased Chicago police lieutenant violate the Constitution or laws of the United States during a 30-minute exchange with former Chicago police officer Robert L. Walsh? If he did, then a number of defendants here -- Paul L. Tasch, Jr., Robert Zdora, Patricia Kane, Leonard Zaleski, Fred Rice, Jr., and the City of Chicago -- will be liable to Walsh. If he did not, then they will suffer no penalty.

 These are the undisputed facts: on August 27, 1985, Sgt. Robert Zdora of the Internal Affairs Division ("IAD") of the Chicago Police Department received a phone call from a person who identified himself as State's Attorney Barrett. Barrett told Zdora that he had a complaint regarding Officer Walsh. Barrett said that he told the complainant to contact IAD, and that Zdora should expect a call. It came later that day. The female voice on the end of the line told Zdora that Walsh and his wife were using and dealing drugs -- an activity illegal for both persons, but also against several of Walsh's employment rules.

 Having heard these serious allegations, Sgt. Zdora opened an investigation of Walsh, beginning with a surveillance of the Walsh home. IAD watched the Walsh house seventeen times between August 28 and October 23, 1985, noting the license plates of vehicles that came and went. IAD personnel observed nothing incriminating. Early in October 1985, Officer Patricia Kane joined Zdora on the Walsh investigation. The officers learned that Hannah Walsh, Officer Walsh's wife, performed beauty services in her home. Zdora told Kane to arrange for a haircut with Hannah and determine if there was anything untoward occurring inside the Walsh home. Kane obtained Hannah's telephone number from Zdora, called her up, and made a hair appointment.

 Kane arrived at the Walsh home for her haircut on October 12, 1985. She used the name of Terri Roberts. What Kane and Hannah said to one another is disputed, but Kane prepared an internal memorandum which reported that she had waited on the first floor of the Walsh residence while Hannah finished with another customer. Hannah then told Kane to dampen her hair in the kitchen sink, and offered Kane a beer. Kane declined. Hannah then directed Kane to the basement, and reportedly told the children who were playing in the house to be quiet while "Bob" was sleeping. Kane asked who was "Bob." Hannah replied that it was her husband, who was a police officer. Hannah then reportedly slurred her words, explained that she was hung over, then asked Kane, "You ever do coke?" Kane held up her hands and shrugged. Hannah then reportedly said, "Well, that's really what's wrong with me. I did a couple of lines last night and I'm still feeling it."

 Kane inquired if her husband objected. Hannah reportedly laughed off this suggestion, and said that he used cocaine too. Hannah then reportedly asked Kane if she wanted to "do a line," which Kane refused. Kane later reported that she then observed Hannah ingest cocaine.

 Shortly thereafter, Hannah offered to sell Kane some cocaine, and Kane agreed. Kane purchased $ 100 worth of the drug. A while later, Hannah reportedly asked Kane if she knew someone who could "take the rest of the stuff" off of her hands. Kane said she would check, and would arrange to meet with Hannah again. Later that day Kane relinquished the cocaine to Zdora, who had it weighed and tested.

 Five days later Kane returned to the Walsh residence and purchased $ 50 more cocaine. On October 30, 1985, Kane telephoned Hannah about yet another cocaine purchase. According to a memo which Kane prepared subsequent to this conversation, Hannah said that Officer Walsh "uses, but does not tell a lot of people." Kane reported asking her if she had told her husband that Kane had purchased cocaine from her. Hannah said that she had, and that Officer Walsh had cautioned her not to see someone whom they did not know well. Walsh reportedly "was concerned because anybody could be working undercover." Kane reported further that Hannah said that Officer Walsh did not use as much cocaine as she did, but that he used it, mostly when "he had a few days off, so it would not be in his system and he would not get caught by a urine test when he got back to work."

 On the afternoon of November 6, 1985, shortly after Officer Walsh left for work, Chicago Police apprehended Hannah pursuant to an arrest warrant at her home. Hannah left her three children, ages four to seven, with a neighbor before leaving with the police for the station. At approximately the same time Officer Walsh was checking his assignment for the afternoon shift at the 8th District Headquarters of the Chicago Police Department. Someone told him that he was wanted in the Watch Commander's office. Walsh went to the office, and there met Sgt. Paul L. Tasch, Jr., Sgt. George Leslie, and one other officer. All three were from IAD. Sgt. Leslie tendered to Walsh three forms. One stated the allegation that Walsh used and kept cocaine at his home, another advised Walsh of a right to counsel and notified him of a hearing date, and a third advised him of his administrative rights. Walsh acknowledged receipt of each of the forms by signing them. Walsh then claims that he asked to make a phone call, but that the officers refused his request. The officers asked Walsh no questions, other than whether he understood what he had signed.

 Walsh was upset. He was worried about what was happening to his wife at the lockup, and wondered if his children were in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ("DCFS"). No one had read Walsh the Miranda warnings. It is possible too -- although this is a matter of dispute -- that Curry threatened Walsh with criminal prosecution and loss of pension benefits. On the other hand, the IAD officers never interrogated Walsh about his alleged cocaine use or drug dealing. They left him with a choice, which in Walsh's mind was no choice. Walsh resigned.

 Two days later Walsh regretted what he had done and sought to withdraw his resignation. The Department refused his request. Walsh heard from his former colleagues that a Lt. Burns had told officers during a roll call at the 8th District that Walsh was dealing dope and that everyone should watch himself. He also heard that a Commander Corless had remarked to a group of officers who were selling raffle tickets that "I hope they're not for that dope dealer, Walsh." Walsh understood that the word around the District was that Walsh was a "big dope dealer." Walsh insists that this is false, and that apart from Kane and Zdora's reports, there is no evidence that he took or sold drugs. In fact, the urine specimen which the Department obtained showed no traces of illicit substances.

 Walsh subsequently filed suit in this court. Following a motion to dismiss, four counts of Walsh's original complaint are left. Count 1 is a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982) against Leslie, Curry, Tasch, Zdora, Kane, Leonard Zaleski, Fred Rice, Jr., and the City of Chicago for various violations of Walsh's constitutional rights. In Count 2 Walsh claims that a conspiracy to deprive him of his rights existed among these same persons. Count 5 is a claim of slander under Illinois law for the three station house comments, while Count 6 is a claim under Illinois law for breach of the contract between ...


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