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HOLDER v. IVANJACK

April 28, 2000

ERIC HOLDER, PLAINTIFF,
V.
ANTHONY IVANJACK, A.D.S., SGT. PATRICK MINOGUE, STAR # 1858, SGT. PAUL DEROSA, STAR # 1458, P.O. THOMAS STACK, STAR # 6232, P.O. HAROLD RODRIQUEZ, STAR # 14532, P.O. DOMINICK COLUCCI, STAR # 14466, P.O. JOHN BERNATH, STAR # 18602, P.O. RICHARD HALJEAN, STAR # 9860, P.O. GARY CAIN, STAR # 19432, P.O. ANTHONY BARSANO, STAR # 15728, P.O. MAHER SULEIMAN, STAR # 8242, P.O. RONALD MIEZIERE, STAR # 10392, P.O. CHRISTOPHER STRZALKA, STAR # 5358, P.O. DAVID HAYES, STAR # 19938, LT. JEFFERY WILSON, STAR # 352, AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is defendants the City of Chicago's and the individual police officers' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff Eric Holder ("Holder") is a patrol officer for the Chicago Police Department. At the time of the relevant incident, the individual defendants were all employed as police officers by the Chicago Police Department. The defendant City of Chicago ("City") is a municipal corporation and local government. Holder has brought this suit against the individual defendants and the City pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

In order to understand this court's opinion, one must be aware of a number of facts. For the sake of clarity, a recitation of these facts is in two parts. Part A discusses the relevant events which relate to the shooting incident on July 10, 1997. Part B discusses the procedural history of this case in this court. This court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1343, 1367.

A. Events relating to the shooting incident on July 10, 1997

On July 10, 1997, on or about 12:00 a.m., the individual police officer defendants responded to a shooting incident in the alley behind 536 and 538 North Lawler in Chicago, Illinois. At some point after the officers arrived on the scene, Holder walked into the backyard of 538 North Lawler. As Holder walked into the backyard, the police officers twice yelled at Holder to "get the fuck out of the yard." (Defs.' 56.1(a) Statement Ex. H at 282:16-19 & 313:18-24.) Holder, despite this warning, remained in the yard. Eventually, the police officers told Holder five times to get out of the yard.*fn2 (Id. Ex. H at 351:7-16, 352:3-11 & 381-82.) Furthermore, in response to the second time Sergeant Patrick Minogue ("Minogue") told Holder "to get the fuck out of the yard," Holder replied "fuck you too." (Id. Ex. H at 382:7-11.) After this interchange and Holder's disregard for the police officers' orders, Minogue ordered the other police officers to arrest Holder.

Based on this occurrence, Holder was charged with one count of resisting or obstructing a peace officer and two counts of battery. During the three day jury trial, Holder presented at least five witnesses who testified that five to ten police officers punched, kicked and beat him with flashlights and/or batons for several minutes during the arrest. Based on this testimony, Holder's attorney sought a modification of the jury instruction regarding the use of force in resisting arrest. Holder's attorney requested that a self-defense jury instruction be included. After finding no precedent for Holder's attorney's request, the trial judge refused to modify the jury instruction. (Id. Ex. L at 86-87.) Thus, the jury instruction for resisting or obstructing a peace officer stated: "A person is not authorized to use force to resist arrest which he knows is being made by a peace officer, even if he believes that the arrest is unlawful and the arrest in fact is unlawful." (Id. Ex. P at 8-9 (citing IPI Criminal No. 24-25.20).) After deliberations, the jury found Holder guilty of resisting or obstructing a peace officer but not guilty of either count of battery.

Following the trial, Holder moved for judgment not withstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, for a new trial. Among other arguments made, the argument relevant to the current matter was that it was reversible error not to instruct the jury on the use of force to resist an arrest. After hearing oral arguments on Holder's post-trial motions, the trial court denied his motion for judgment not withstanding the verdict because the evidence was sufficient and denied his motion for a new trial because the instructions were proper. Following the trial judge's rulings on Holder's post-trial motions, the trial judge sentenced Holder to a one-year conditional discharge during which time he was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

On March 25, 1998, Holder appealed his conviction. On March 15, 1999, the appellate court affirmed Holder's conviction, finding that (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict and (2) the trial judge's refusal to instruct the jury on the use of force to resist an arrest was proper. In regard to the jury instructions, the appellate court specifically stated:

Here, defendant raised the issue of a peace officer's justifiable use of force by alleging that excessive force was used to arrest him. The instruction given is an accurate statement of the law governing a peace officer's use of force. Similarly, [Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction, Criminal] No. 24-25.20 accurately states that the suspect may not use force to resist a lawful arrest. The combination of these two instructions does not, as defendant argues, require conviction. Rather, the instructions suggest that if the jury found the peace officers used force not reasonably necessary to effect the arrest, the arrest would be unlawful and defendant could legally resist.

(Id. Ex. P at 13.)

B. Procedural history in this court

On May 8, 1998, Holder filed a complaint with this court naming fifteen individual police officers and the City as defendants. Holder's complaint alleged a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various violations of Illinois tort law. On August 31, 1998, the City moved to dismiss Counts I, V and VII of the complaint. The court granted the City's motion on September 8, 1998 and gave Holder leave to file an amended complaint by September 22, 1998. (Ct. Order dated Sept. 8, 1998.) On September 21, 1998, Holder filed his amended complaint. Holder's amended complaint alleges the same violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and violations of Illinois tort law as his original complaint but terminates his claims against Anthony Ivanjack and Lieutenant Jeffery Wilson, two of the individual defendants. In Count I, Holder alleges that the individual police officers violated his civil rights when they used excessive force to arrest him. In Count II against the individual police officers and Count III against the City, Holder alleges that the defendants committed assault and battery resulting in injuries to him. In Count IV against the individual police officers and Count V against the City, Holder alleges that the defendants intentionally caused him severe emotional distress when they uttered racial slurs, committed battery and charged him with the commission of a battery. In Count VI against the individual police officers and Count VII*fn3 against the City, Holder alleges that defendants violated the Illinois Hate Crime Act when they uttered racial slurs and, because of his race, committed assault and battery on Holder. Finally, in Count VIII against Sergeant Paul DeRosa ("DeRosa") and Police Officer Harold Rodriquez ("Rodriquez") and Count IX against the City, Holder alleges that the defendants failed to protect Holder from the assault and battery committed by the other individual police officers.

On October 15, 1998, the remaining individual police officers and the City filed a joint motion to dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Counts IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX of Holder's amended complaint. The court, on March 15, 1999, denied the defendants' ...


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