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LUNA v. MEINKE

February 22, 1994

BALTAZAR LUNA, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL J. MEINKE and the CITY OF CHICAGO, an Illinois Municipal Corporation, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court is the motion of defendant/cross-claimant City of Chicago ("City") for summary judgment on Count III of plaintiff Baltazar Luna's ("Luna") complaint, and on the City's cross-claim against defendant Michael J. Meinke ("Meinke"). For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

 In 1991, Meinke was an employee of the City as a police officer. Meinke's duties as a police officer included driving and protecting the Mayor of the City. The scope of Meinke's duties, however, did not include patrolling and issuing tickets for traffic code violations. The Chicago Police Department did not issue a ticket book to Meinke for purposes of enforcing the traffic law. Moreover, the last time Meinke was required to issue citations for moving violations was approximately four years prior to May 1991.

 On May 26, 1991, Meinke attended a social picnic in the State of Wisconsin with his fiancee. Meinke was not in uniform and did not possess a firearm or handcuffs. After the picnic, Meinke drove home with his fiancee, operating his truck southbound on the Edens Expressway ("Edens").

 The Edens is an interstate freeway. By agreement between the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Department of State Police ("IDSP"), interstate freeways are patrolled exclusively by the IDSP. Officers of the Chicago Police Department do not patrol interstate freeways within the City or within neighboring suburban villages, including the Village of Skokie. Chicago Police Department Special Order 91-11 specifically details the jurisdiction of the IDSP and explains that IDSP will enforce all traffic laws on the expressways. See City's Exh. C at 2.

 While Meinke was driving on the Edens, near Old Orchard Road in the Village of Skokie, he was involved in a minor traffic dispute with Luna. Meinke claims that the traffic dispute started when Luna abruptly changed lanes and slowed his vehicle by braking in front of Meinke's path. Meinke reacted to Luna's driving by pulling ahead and honking his horn. In response, Luna expressed his disagreement by giving him the finger. Subsequently, Luna pulled in front of Meinke's vehicle again and repeatedly activated his brakes.

 Luna, on the other hand, claims that Meinke's vehicle was tailgating him and that he changed lanes from the center lane to the right lane. After moving over, Luna claims that Meinke changed lanes and drove behind Luna's vehicle.

 During the traffic dispute, Meinke displayed his Chicago Police Department badge and motioned Luna to pull his vehicle to the side of the road. Luna complied with Meinke's instruction. Meinke also stopped his vehicle on the shoulder of the Edens. When the parties pulled over to the side of the freeway, they were still in the Village of Skokie. Meinke believed that Luna operated his motor vehicle recklessly in violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-503.

 After Luna alighted from his vehicle, Meinke approached him and demanded Luna to produce his driver's license and insurance card. During this time, Luna's friends who were driving separate vehicles also pulled over to the side of the road. Luna complied and produced his driver's license, and as he attempted to retrieve his insurance card from the glove compartment, Meinke kicked Luna in the lower back several times and then punched Luna in his face several times with closed fist.

 Subsequently, Meinke ordered Luna and his friends to follow him to the Skokie Police Department so that he could request the Skokie Police to issue a citation for reckless driving. Luna and his friends did not follow Meinke. Instead, Luna's friends summoned an ambulance seeking medical attention for Luna. After receiving medical treatment, Luna signed a misdemeanor complaint for simple battery against Meinke. Meinke pleaded guilty to the charge of battery and stipulated to the underlying facts.


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